‘There was so much improvement’ – Portsmouth boxer Harley Hodgetts continues perfect start to pro career

Portsmouth boxer Harley Hodgetts completed Italian job 2.0 as he continued his perfect start to life in the professional ranks.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 11:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 12:07 pm
Portsmouth's Harley Hodgetts, right, is about to have his arm raised in his latest fight in Italy

The Buckland-based middleweight produced an assured performance to defeat Bulgarian Teodor Nikolov on points over the six round distance on the outskirts of Rome last weekend.

Hodgetts, who defeated Italian Luigi Mantegna to start life as a professional with victory in the European nation in March, was much more satisfied with his efforts when facing Nikolov.

In fact, the only downside for the 26-year-old was not winning inside the distance after knocking him down in round five.

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Harley Hodgetts

Hodgetts beamed: 'It was brilliant. I’ve improved so much from my first fight out there.

‘It just shows that the things I’m working on in the gym are starting to be put in motion and starting to work now.

‘The amount of improvement in such a short time is amazing. There was so much improvement between the two fights - it was like two completely different fighters.

‘I started working on strength and conditioning for this camp, which I didn’t for the last one, so it’s all starting to come together and getting the knockdown and stuff.

‘I put him down in the fifth round and he got two points deducted for holding as well so I was so close to getting him out there, I just couldn’t get the final punches in, but all in all it was a good, successful trip.'

Hodgetts fought on the Genzano di Roma card alongside team-mate Matt King, who recorded his first professional victory.

They were also joined by fellow gym members Mikey McKinson, Lucas Ballingall and Elley Booth while trainers Michael Ballingall and Miles Harding also made the trip.

Hodgetts, whose opponent Nikolov had faced 20-0 McKinson in his third professional fight in 2014, revealed there was some banter flying around after he managed to knock his man down.

The Pompey Problem could not do the same when he met the Bulgarian - and Hodgetts says it sparked a light-hearted jest between the pair as to who packs a bigger punch.

Hodgetts added: 'There was a little bit of banter in the gym because Mikey (McKinson) boxed the same lad in his third pro fight over a four rounder and won all four rounds.

'Obviously, Mikey doesn’t get a lot of knockouts, so there’s been some banter in the gym saying who’s the biggest puncher.

We were all having a load of banter after - it was brilliant.'