Hucknall kickboxing star Kade Hardy has become a world champion for the first time.
The 16-year-old took on Frenchman Brian Vico at Alfreton Leisure Centre on Saturday night in his third attempt at securing a full contact kickboxing world title, fighting in the -58kg category.
The fight went the distance but Hardy won every round on points and took the unanimous verdict at the end to claim his much sought-after title to add to his Midland, English, British and Commonwealth belts.
His dad Brendan said: “He was up against a lad who had 60 fights and only two defeats behind him so we knew it would be a challenge.
“But he did really well in what was his third attempt at this belt and deserved the win.”
Hardy had spent the months leading up to the fight training at the Panthers gym in Matlock alongside three-time world champion Scott Taylor and fellow coaches Dough Harrison and Stuart Taylor.
He is now due to take a six month break whilst deciding on his next move, which it is anticipated will be to turn pro some time next year.
Brendan said: “He’s had offers from Clifton Mitchell Pro in Derby who are in charge of Tyson Fury’s camp and from Kell Brook’s camp too who both want to move him into boxing, while Christian Smith from Tap or Snap in Kirkby is keen to take him down the UFC route, so he’ll have a decision to make but it’s only Kade who can make it.
“He works so hard and has been doing this since he was five-years-old. He’s missed out on a lot of his childhood what with the training and competing and also having to be so disciplined in terms of diet and so on, but he’s reaping the rewards.
“He’s won the complete set now in full contact kickboxing which is why a change in discipline looks likely, but he is certainly keen to make a living out of it so there’s little doubt in my mind he’ll turn pro.
“He wanted to finish kickboxing at the top which is why he kept attempting the world title belt. He was so close in Lincoln a couple of years ago when he dominated a fight against Jack Deakin but somehow the judges deemed it a draw, so he was even more determined to make it his this time around.”
Despite not planning to register for any fights over the next six months, Hardy will continue to train in both boxing and MMA as he looks to make up his mind over his future.
Brendan added: “He can’t go pro until he’s 17-and-a-half but will need to get some amateur fights in to help fast track him through.
“He’s been superbly supported by his group of fans as well as his sponsors who we’d like to thank, namely Tru Plastics, Realist Clothing and Dennis the Butcher who have all done wonders for him in helping him financially.”