Sheffield boxers plot away victories in Hartlepool

Dan Westwell beats plucky Lee Connelly
Dan Westwell beats plucky Lee Connelly

Two Sheffield fighters hit the road tomorrow hoping to throw the form book out of the window.

Aggressive lightweight Lee Connelly who has lost nine out of his last 11 fights and takes on Peter Cope in his native Hartlepool. On the same bill welterweight Ryan Hardy, defeated in his last five, tries to wreck Sunderland scrapper Glenn Foot’s 14-match unbeaten record.

It’s a stiff task for Westfield-based Connelly, who like Hardy has to balance a family and full time job with boxing.

“Being the away fighter and taking fights against prospects at short notice is a hard job” he said. “Everything seems stacked against you, especially for people like me and Ryan who have kids and are working as well.

“But because of my record I find it hard to sell tickets for a home match, so I want to win this and then start to turn the corner.

“I had a knee injury this year and my enthusiasm faded, with always being the underdog, but when the right fights come in, I love it. When you get in the ring you never now what is going to happen!”

Both Chesterfield-born Connelly and Cope have been beaten by Barnsley’s England super featherweight champion, Andy Townend, but the Unstone car mechanic says: “Cope didn’t last as long as me. He is a tall southpaw but I have been in with Luke Campbell so he won’t have anything I can’t beat. I’ve sparred with Cope when he was training for the English title (Cope lost on points last year to Mitchell Smith) and he’s a good boxer. But I’m tougher than him and if I can fight my fight - draw him in and rough him up on the inside - I will beat him.”

Connelly, 27, started being trained by Sean Thickett at Dennis Hobson’s gym in Gleadless at the start of the year.

“He concentrates of me fighting from the outside and has improved on that aspect of my game” said the former Killamarsh man.

* Hardy was a Central Area title challenger last year, but was outpointed over 10 rounds by Adam Little.

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