Hammer Hardy ready for first fight

There are two things in life which matter most to Dagenham born boxer Craig Hardy, West Ham United and boxing.

Whilst Hardy has been fighting his way up to the moment where he now stands on the cusp of his first professional fight, he's also been a fierce supporter of the Hammers.

Any blood spilt by the 22-year-old in his fight against Pavel Senkovs at York Hall on Saturday 7 December is likely to be Claret and Blue.

Boxing and football fought for the time of the upcoming boxer over the years and ultimately it was boxing that floored football.

Craig Hardy

West Ham fan Hardy enjoyed a photoshoot at the Boleyn Ground

He told whufc.com: "I first became interested in boxing when I was mucking around with one of my mates. I was football mad, the same as all of my family, none of them were interested in boxing.

"My mate said 'I'm going boxing tonight' I said 'alright then, I'm coming with you' and it's all gone on from there.

"West Ham has always been a big part of my life. I've always come over here, when I got older I was allowed to come over here more, Kids for a Quid and that sort of thing with my mates.

"When I got a Season Ticket with my mates I used to be down here every week, now I've got training and stuff with my boxing I had to give up my Season Ticket. One day I will return and get my Season Ticket back again."

Giving up his seat in the Bobby Moore Stand was tough for the local lad who's always been surrounded by people who share a love for the Club.

"I come from Dagenham, my family is West Ham mad all my mates are West Ham, I go down the pub and everyone in there is West Ham. I used to have a Season Ticket in the Bobby Moore Lower so I absolutely love it."

Boxing has taken over Hardy's life and the fighter revels in the commitment required from his sport with even the prospect of being on the receiving end of a firm right hand not enough to put him off.

"To be honest, you get a buzz out of it. You try not to get hit too much but you don't mind obviously, it makes you more wary.

"I just love being dedicated to it. You're always in the gym training constantly from Monday to Friday plus you're doing runs in the daytime.

"You always have to watch your weight and your diet. People get interested in you and that's all you talk about.

"When I'm out with my Dad we go down the pub sometimes, obviously not drinking, everyone's always asking 'when are you fighting next?' showing an interest in you so it's great."

Craig Hardy

Hardy is looking forward to his fight on Saturday

Looking ahead to his first professional fight, Hardy will be taking on a vastly experienced fighter but believes he has what it take to emerge as the winner come the end of the fight.

"He's had a few fights so he's experienced. His record doesn't show that he's very good but from what I've seen of him he's a very tough opponent.

"I'm not looking too much past him, me and my trainer know what we've got to do to win and that's what we're concentrating on. Hopefully I'll get the win."

*All photos are courtesy of Brett Wraight of Klickers Photography www.klickersphotography.com