Mansfield’s brightest young boxing talent Nico Leivars caught the eye of fight promoter Mick Hennessy last week - by beating his son in the ring, writes Tom Head.
In a hastily-arranged meeting, Leivars was comfortable in victory by winning every round. Initially, there were doubts as to whether any fight would go ahead, as his scheduled opponent pulled out of the fight just one hour before the final weigh-in.
It was a little serendipitous that the fighter Nico eventually faced had also been let down at the last minute. After travelling from London to fight in Sheffield, the younger Hennessy – Michael - agreed to fill in for the bout at Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium.
His latest achievement is all more impressive when you take in to account the calibre of the opponent. Hennessy junior has the immediate advantages of living in London, and having a father in the business.
Though there is no suggestion of nepotism opening the doors for young Michael, Leivars still does a lot of his training at home, in the humble surroundings of his garage.
Despite a disrupted training programme, Leivars went in to the fight in supreme confidence. He’s hardly the type to turn down a dust-up, and his readiness seems to have rewarded him well.
Mick Hennessy, who has promoted and worked with the likes of Tyson Fury and James DeGale, was blown away by the Mansfield lad’s master-class.
In fact, he was so impressed, he implicitly told Nico to talk to him when he wants to turn professional.
Generous backing, considering what had just happened to his son, and perhaps Nico had a little extra incentive to showcase his talents as, among an audience of VIPs, the chairman of his beloved Mansfield Town, John Radford, was there to cheer him on. And the famous support didn’t end there: World champion elect Kell Brook was on hand to present Leivars with the trophy.