Boxer Harley Hodgetts to make professional bow in Spain - but big Portsmouth fight nights are the dream

Harley Hodgetts is heading to Spain to launch his professional boxing career – but his heart is set on being the star of big fight nights in his hometown of Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 3:01 pm
Portsmouth boxer Harley Hodgetts

The Buckland boxer has turned professional with trainer/manager Michael Ballingall and makes his debut in a middleweight match in Alicante on February 6.

But the 26-year-old’s long term target is to fight in front of his home fans rather than be a regular on the overseas circuit.

Trainer Ballingall reckons Hodgetts could be the south coast's biggest ticket seller since fans’ favourite Floyd Moore was thrilling sell-out crowds in all-action fights and ahead of his professional debut he said: ‘The Portsmouth fans are amazing.

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‘They raise the roof whenever Michael McKinson boxes and I’m hoping they do the same for me. We want to bring big shows back to Portsmouth. There’s nothing like a big fight night in Portsmouth.’

Boxing for Heart of Portsmouth ABC, Hodgetts was a good amateur in his teens and boxed a future world champion.

Isaac Dogboe went on to win the WBO super-bantamweight championship after defeating Hodgetts in the amateur ranks.

However, after that loss he drifted away from boxing after the birth of his son Dexy seven years ago.

‘It got to the point where I thought, ‘If I’m going to box again, it’s now or never,’ said Hodgetts.

‘I’m sparring Lucas (Ballingall) and Mikey (McKinson) and it’s coming back to me naturally.

‘It’s still there and every time I spar I’m getting better.’

Hodgetts says he’s been fighting all his life and that boxing saved him.

‘I had a real temper when I was younger,' he added.

‘I was kicked out of three junior schools because they couldn’t do anything with me.

‘I was always getting into trouble and, in the end, I had to be home tutored and then I went to an anger management school.

‘Boxing straightened me out, I ended back in a mainstream school because of boxing. It turned my life around.

‘Turning professional is an achievement to me. I’m hoping I can win a few fights, get the southern area title and then take it from there.’