Big hopes for Tameside boxing club’s star

A TAMESIDE boxing club has tipped one of its star pupils for a knockout future as he looks to return from title disappointment.

Droylsden product Kane Gardner lost out to defending champion Pierce O’Leary for the WBC International super-lightweight title on September 23 on the undercard of Zhilei Zhang v Joe Joyce at London’s Wembley Arena.

Despite a valiant effort on the night, the 28-year-old – who joined the professional ranks in 2017 – returned to Manchester empty handed following a unanimous points decision in favour of his opponent.

Kane has since enjoyed some time away from the ring after the bout, which was screened on TNT Sports, as he looks to rebuild and return to his best.

And while his next opponent has yet to be confirmed, Droylsden boxing club coach Ian Harrison believes he is destined to make his presence felt in the ring.

Speaking to The Correspondent, Ian – who was invited to the late Queen’s 93rd Birthday celebrations in 2019 – said: “It was a great event for Kane to be involved with, as it was his biggest fight to date and watched by thousands of people on a mainstream channel.

“We always knew it was going to be a difficult fight to win, especially considering Pierce was unbeaten, but we entered the bout on the back of a good camp and with not just confidence, but expectation as well.

“It didn’t quite work out as we planned, but we’ve taken the positives from the loss and are hoping to get a fight penned in for December or in the early stages of 2024.”

Defeat to Irishman O’Leary is just a minor blip in an otherwise promising career.

Since his professional debut victory against Youssef Al Hamidi on September 2, 2017, Kane has fought in 18 other contests, winning 15 and losing three.

It therefore came as a bitter blow to the former University of Salford student, who comes from the Beswick area of Manchester, when O’Leary retained his title.

In fact, Kane expressed his dismay surrounding the decision in a post-fight statement.

He said: “I heard Pierce was a special fighter, but the way my career has played out I’m only ever going to be in the ring with great fighters. But I don’t mind that as I’m always looking to test myself.

“I believe I’m a special fighter – that’s why we both had our moments – but unfortunately it just wasn’t my night.

“The scorecards were disgraceful. I would have needed a knockout to get the win, regardless.

“As long as I’m doing what I love and putting food on the table for my family, then I’m a happy man.”

While Kane has a rest away from competitive action, no fewer than 17 of the club’s other products will be facing off in the ring at their own event on Friday, November 17.

Taking place at Stanley House in Audenshaw, the eagerly awaited competition will provide a platform for experienced fighters and future prospects to prove their worth in a family friendly environment.

The club is currently on the lookout for sponsors and anyone interested in assisting can email on

In other news, the club has launched its Christmas Toy Appeal.

Following the success of last year’s event, Ian is attempting to make this campaign – which sees donations distributed to struggling families in the local area along with children spending the festive period in Tameside Hospital – bigger and better.

Only new presents are being accepted, and those wishing to donate can drop toys off at the club’s centre on Lewis Road in Droylsden.

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