After a series of setbacks, Brandon boxer Noel Harding is set to resume his pro career south of the border next month.
The 34-year-old owner of the Brandon Boxing Club is scheduled to fight Cheyenne Ziegler in a six-round junior middleweight (154 pounds) bout on July 12 in Grand Forks, N.D. The fight will be part of a card put on by former world champion boxer Virgil Hill.
"It’s signed, sealed and delivered on both ends and been approved by the (Minnesota boxing) commission ... so it’s going to happen," said Harding, who holds a perfect 3-0 record with three knockouts as a pro.
"It’s tough to land these fights, even since my last stint of activity last fall, I’ve had about six to eight fights that I have been asked about and I’ve agreed to and they’ve fallen through. I’m 3-0 and I honestly believe I should be 15-0. I just have to go into this fight in the best possible shape of my life, and I will be. And if I go there in shape, I will come out of there with a quick knockout."
Harding, who is ranked seventh in the country in the middleweight division in the latest Canadian Professional Boxing Council rankings, will face a veteran of the sweet science in Ziegler. The 32-year-old native of Idaho, who has bounced back and forth between mixed martial arts and boxing, has a 3-11 record in the ring while facing some of the top up-and-coming boxers in the sport.
"I am giving up quite a bit of experience to him, so it’s going to be a tough fight and I know that," Harding said. "If you check out his record, he’s fought a lot of undefeated fighters, which is why they are getting me to fight him because I am one of these guys coming up and it’s going to be a test. He’s a brawler and he’s a very tough guy. I’ve seen him fight, so I am going to have my hands full with him at that weight."
Harding usually fights as a middleweight (160 pounds), but will have to cut another six pounds to make weight at junior middleweight to face Ziegler.
"Six pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but I don’t walk around at 160 or anywhere near that, so it’s a lot of weight I am cutting," said Harding, whose last fight was a first-round KO of American Arnold Sisneros on a card last September at the Sky Dancer Hotel & Casino in Belcourt, N.D. "But this is my career and this is the weight I have to make for the fight. If Ziegler doesn’t make the weight, he forfeits 20 per cent of his purse ... but I am going to take the fight regardless.
"We’ll see how it goes. I hope to get another ‘W’ and I hope it’s another knockout."