Heavyweight Tom Hardwick (2-0, 2 KOs) continued his winning ways as a professional when he defeated Rodelle Bolar (0-4) by TKO in round three at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City on Saturday night.
With Evander Holyfield in attendance in the front row, the 26-year-old entered to the sound of the Dropkick Murphys blaring, followed by a piper belting out some tunes to rouse the sizeable number of Irish fans at the fight.
Bolar, who weighed in at 204 pounds and looked a little soft around the middle, was a few inches shorter than his adversary.
Hardwick, who tipped the scales at a career high of 217 pounds, started with purpose by throwing a left to the body and then a right to the head.
The Dubliner showed signs of over eagerness that resulted in some lunging at his opponent, but he soundly outworked Bolar in the first round.
In the last minute of the first stanza he seriously hurt Bolar with a right to the body before both men ended up taking accidental tumbles to the canvas before the round ended.
The second round was more of the same, with Hardwick the much busier of the two fighters. Bolar did have some good moments, catching Hardwick with a hard right to the head, but the Irishman took the punch well.
In the third round Hardwick made the breakthrough when a stinging left hook to the head put Bolar down on the canvas. The 29-year-old looked wobbly after the count, and shortly after a four-punch combination to the head following by another solid right to the body from Hardwick had Bolar on the floor again.
This time, referee David Fields decided the man from Ohio had taken enough punishment and waived off the fight with 1:39 gone in the third.
“He was very tough, I hit him with some very hard shots and he took them well,” Hardwick told the Irish Voice after the fight.
“I kept on trying to stick to my routine, but then I got a bit wild with the crowd getting behind me so much. I seemed to go into battle rather than outbox the lad, which I was well capable of doing. I started trying to land these big power shots and I started getting a bit sloppy.”
Of his heavy fall in the first round, Hardwick said that it was bad footwork that put him in the bind.
“I threw a left hook, but I put my left foot too far forward and I got caught off balance. The same thing happened in the first fight.”
The combination that led to the first knockdown was something that Hardwick and trainer Grant Seligson worked at in the gym.
“Grant had been getting me to use my left hook after throwing a right, and it hurt him,” he said.
The end came as a result of Hardwick mixing up his shots during the fight.
“You could hit that fellow all day in the head and he would come back, so I thought the body was the only way to go,” he said.
After the fight Bolar told the Irish Voice that it was a punch and not a tumble that put Hardwick on the deck in the first stanza.
“I caught him with an overhand right but they called it a slip,” he said.
However, he was also very gracious to the winner.
“He is a great fighter and he his going to do a lot of good things in the sport. Those body shots took a toll, that last one he hit me pretty good.”
Apart from a slight clash of heads, Hardwick emerged from the fight unscathed and will take a short break to recharge. The Yonkers resident may be back in the ring again in September.
In other news, lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (7-0, 3 KOs) will again feature on a high profile night of boxing when he fights Marcos Herrera (6-5, 2 KOs) on the undercard of the light welterweight fight between WBA champion Amir Khan and IBF title holder Zab Judah at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Kavanagh was last in action on June 23 when he defeated John Willoughby by third round knockout at Club Nokia in Los Angeles.
The fight is scheduled for six rounds and Kavanagh, who is trained by Freddie Roach, is looking forward making an impression on what will be his second fight at the Mandalay.
“I am only on the undercard, but I know there will be influential people watching so I will be looking to impress. I plan to come away looking good. Although the fight will be on early in the card the same TV people that will be at the Khan fight will be at mine,” Kavanagh told www.irish-boxing.com.