Brooklyn boxer Heather Hardy snagged one of the slots on one of the last HBO boxing cards, and made the most of it on Saturday evening, at the Madison Square Garden Theater.
On the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast, she said that she’s just looking for world title fights from here on out, and named two ladies who she thinks would make good matches for her in the boxing ring. (See below).
“Mostly during camp we focused on getting stronger, I’d really, really hoped to get a knockout for this fight, to be able to stop her, I had more pop going in, and I don’t know if I wasn’t as strong as I thought, or if maybe she was a little tougher than I gave her credit for. I think it could be maybe a little bit of a combination of both, but I definitely saw my power start to develop in this fight, more so when I re-watched it on HBO, and I could see the accuracy of my punches. Just boxing six years, still learning how to do all this stuff, I really feel like within the next couple fights you are going to see a big translation of my power, I’m turning into a power puncher,” Hardy said, when asked to give her take on the effort, a decision victory, making her 2-0 against the CT boxer Vincent.
Hardy said that “I’m finding how to translate my body strength to come through my punches,” and again, we will likely see that unfold in future tangoes.
As for the fight, Hardy said that she invested a lot going to the body, which surprised her, because Shelly is short. “By the fourth or the fifth round, I was kind of in control,” she said.
Her guy in the corner, Devon Cormac, asked her to be more active, to slow Shelly down.
“I felt like I won nine rounds to one, the entire corner thought I won nine rounds to one, but boxing is a funny sport, whenever they take too long with the scorecards, I’m saying what the hell is going on over there, I hoped they were watching this fight and not another one,” she shared.
Getting that WBO title belt, the 36 year old said that seeing Max Kellerman call her fight, and give her a thumbs up during the scrap, that made it for her as much as the belt, or getting the champion banner at Gleason’s Gym. “That was probably more to me than any hardware I’m going to take home, the entire experience was more to me than the takeaway or the title, or anything. The win itself is way more than just the belt,” she said.
She wore the belt to brunch on Sunday, she admitted, chuckling. But she isn’t wearing it out and about, because, you know, the city is still gritty, she doesn’t want to have to smash a mugger trying to grab the belt.
More takeaways…Hardy loved hearing during the HBO showing that Muhammad Ali would have been proud, because of how far she and Shelly have come, and to where they’ve come to. Hearing Kellerman give her thumb’s up, praise her ring generalship, that really warmed her heart. “Today, I got to pay off my daughter’s tuition off for next year and nothing feels as good as that, to know I did it all by myself. Lot of little victories this week, I’m havin’ a happy week.”
So, the question begs, what’s next? She told us she’s open to talking to Bellator, about doing MMA, and in boxing, she wants to fight only title fights. Jennifer Han (17-3-1, living in Texas) has an IBF featherweight title, and Jelena Mrdjenovich (38-10-2, from Canada) the WBA one, so those matches make sense to the Brooklyner.
There are some more tidbits in the pod, including how many stitches Hardy has now taken in her fighting career, after the four she got Saturday…
Not to mention, Hardy received a phone call from Gleason’s Gym boxing boss Bruce Silverglade. “I’m especially happy for Heather for this win. I know from day one when she came in to Gleason’s Gym and started training, and I know from her amateur days, when she lost a fight, and she said I’m not gonna lose any more, and she went on and became a very good amateur. She was a 125 pound national champion in the amateurs, and along the way, I’ve known her for quite a few years now, there’s been quite a few hardships, things that haven’t affected you and me, fires in her home and being a single mother, just so many things coming along. And to be a boxer and to be a good boxer, you have to concentrate and you have to be able to focus, and with so many distractions Heather never lost focus of what her main goal was, which she really wanted to win a world championship. It means a lot to her, but it means an awful lot to me to see this development to come out of Gleason’s Gym. This isn’t someone like Muhammad Ali who lived outside the area and ducked in and would come in to Gleason’s and use it for training camp before his fights and we’d say Muhammad Ali trained here. Heather is born and bred Gleason’s Gym, it means a real lot to me and it means a real lot to Gleason’s Gym and the people that train here. They can see that with hard work and determination you can overcome anything and get what your goal is, she’s just a role model for everybody at Gleason’s. You’re one of Gleason’s champions now,” he said to her, “and to me, you’re one of the special ones, because you worked so hard for it, and it meant so much to you, and we all love you up here, we’re real, real proud of you.”
My three cents: Not much more to say than how Silverglade summed it up. Hardy’s story is one of perseverance personified, and will stand as a prototype for people looking for inspiration in and out of the ring.
Listen here if you like.