Heather Hardy Wins Scorcher on US Televised Card
After years of obscurity female prizefighting finally found itself on the national stage with a pair of undefeated featherweights on a televised card.
Heather “The Heat” Hardy (18-0, 4 Kos) and Shelly “Shelito’s Way” Vincent made the most of the opportunity with 10 rounds of fistic fury on Saturday at Coney Island. NBC Sports Network televised the long awaited clash for the WBC International title.
Fans across the country were not disappointed.
It had been many years since a quality female prizefight was televised. A few female fights had been shown but all were mismatches. The fight between New York’s Hardy and Rhode Island’s Vincent looked to be anything but a mismatch. It was matchmaking at its best.
Hardy and Vincent had proven they could sell tickets when they fight. But neither was ever televised nationally though they both could pay their own way into a fight card with their large fandoms.
These past several years both fighters had basically cleaned out the East Coast and had remained undefeated despite some very competitive match ups. Backbiting between the two through social media festered into a war of words. Dislike followed with neither backing down. It was a matter of money that kept a fight between them from happening.
But it had to happen.
Vincent said she was coming out of a boxing ring when she got the call from promoter Lou DiBella asking if there was interest in meeting Hardy in the boxing ring.
“I’ve wanted this fight for years,” Vincent said before the fight.
Hardy was equally itching for a fight with Vincent.
“The way I see, it is my coming out party,” Hardy said. “So I’m ready.”
Ready she was. So was Vincent.
When the first bell rang it was guns blazing as both fired combinations, power shots, and counters that made each other’s head snap backward. Hardy would land a swift right and Vincent would counter with a left hook. No fear.
Hardy displayed some pretty jabs and combinations mixed with surprising accuracy.
Vincent looked best when inside of Hardy’s longer reach where she pounded the body. Neither quit and the two-minute rounds seemed to go quickly as the audience in Coney Island – that included former super lightweight and welterweight champion Paul Malignaggi – watched attentively in the amphitheater.
Though both fired numerous punishing blows the only difference was Hardy’s ability to slip punches occasionally. That seemed to be the difference in the fight throughout the 10 rounds. Vincent hardly slipped under any punches but bored with her head down forward toward Hardy at all times.
“I thought I was the aggressor. I landed the cleaner shots,” said Vincent after the fight.
After 10 whirlwind rounds that saw the crowd worked up by the constant action, the judges had the final word. One judge Joseph Pascuale saw it 95-95 a draw. But judge Bernard Bruni had it 99-91 Hardy and Robert Bennett 97-93 for Hardy to give her the win by majority decision.
“I thank her (Vincent) for giving such a good fight for the fans,” Hardy said.
It had been 10 long-awaited rounds for all female prizefighting in the U.S. that had not seen a quality female fight televised since 2009. That’s when Melissa Hernandez fought Jeri Sitzes in Las Vegas in a fight televised by Showtime.
Hardy was declared the winner but she didn’t selfishly keep the attention on herself. Instead, she let the world know about the other female prizefighters across the country.
“I hope it makes people know that we’re out here. There are so many of us. It’s not just Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent. There is a sea of female talent,” said Hardy to the televised audience and the interviewer. “Tonight we (also) had Claressa Shields become the very first American Olympic boxer regardless of male or female to be a two-time gold medalist.”
It was a watershed moment for American prizefighting.
Will boxing promoters and television networks see the obvious: America likes a winner and female prizefighting looks like a winner.
Female Fight Notes from Around the World
In Quilmes, Buenos Aires, former bantamweight titlist Carolina Duer (18-3-1) faces Aline Scaranello (10-4, 8 KOs) in a 10-round bout on Friday Aug. 26, for the interim IBF bantamweight title. Duer, 38, is the former WBO bantamweight titlist but took pregnancy leave for almost two years. Scaranello, 28, fights out of Sao Paolo, Brazil.
In Villaguay, undefeated IBF super flyweight titlist Debora Dionicius (22-0) defends against Ana Maria Lozano (12-4-1) in a fight set for 10 rounds on Saturday Aug.27. Dionicius, 28, will be fighting out of her hometown Villaguay, Argentina. This is her eighth title defense since winning it in November 2012.
A super bantamweight clash saw April Adams (4-0-1, 2 KOs) defeat Mel Baker (0-1) by technical knockout at 1:43 of the second round on Saturday Aug. 20. The fight took place in Eatons Hill, Queensland. Adams, 28, won the vacant Australian Queensland State title.
In Amazonas, a light flyweight bout Elica Santos (8-0) faces Jessica Da Silva (0-1) in a six round bout on Sunday Aug. 28.
A mini flyweight bout saw Yokasta Valle (11-0, 6 Kos)) remain undefeated by decision over Mexico’s Linda Vazquez (2-4) after eight rounds on Saturday Aug. 20. The fight took place in Moravia. Valle, 23, fights out of San Jose, Costa Rica.
A super featherweight clash saw Zsofia Bedo (18-38-1) defeat Agnes Nick (5-3) by decision after six rounds on Sunday Aug. 21. The fight took place in Budapest, Hungary. Bedo, 29, and Nick both fight out of Hungary. Also, a super bantamweight fight saw Timea Alfoldi (5-0) remain undefeated with a first round knockout of Anita Hortobagyi (4-10). Szilvia Szabados (14-7) defeated Eva Kolos (3-6) by decision after four rounds in a super welterweight match.
A bantamweight fight ended in a technical draw between Yuko Henzan (2-6-3) and Ayaka Sato (3-4-1) when the fight was called at 1:42 of the second round. The contest took place in Naha, Okinawa on Sunday Aug. 21.
A light flyweight match up saw Louisa “Bang, Bang” Hawton (7-0) beat Kei Takenaka (11-1) in a battle of undefeated fighters by unanimous decision to win the vacant WBO light flyweight world title on Saturday Aug. 20. The fight took place in Sanda, Japan. Hawton, 31, lives in Perth, Australia. Takenaka, 30, is a southpaw living in Takasago, Japan. In a companion female fight, Mika Iwakawa (6-4-1) defeated Narirat Sungsut (0-3) by technical knockout in the second round to pick up the OPBF light flyweight title.
In Kyoto, Tamao Ozawa (10-3) meets Suda Chaimaroeng (0-1) on Wed. Aug. 24, in a super flyweight clash set for eight rounds.
A light flyweight bout saw Silvia Torres (12-0-1) win by technical knockout over Maria Goreti Ramirez (2-5) at 1:29 of the fifth round on Saturday Aug. 20. The fight took place in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California. Torres, 25, fights out of Mexico City. Ramirez, 29, fights out of Oaxaca, Mexico.
A super flyweight battle saw Gabriela Velazquez (5-0) win by unanimous decision over Karia Valencia (0-2) after six rounds on Saturday Aug. 20. Velazquez, 23, fights out of Guadalajara, Mexico. A flyweight contest saw Aurora Ortega (5-0) beat Hazel Alvarez (0-1) by decision after four rounds. The fight card took place in Michoacan, Mexico.
In Mexico City, on Saturday Aug. 27, Mariana “Barbie” Juarez (43-8-4) faces Argentina’s Daniela Bermudez (20-3-2) in a 10-round bout bantamweight contest. Juarez, 36, is a former flyweight and super flyweight world titlist and lives in Mexico City. She is moving up in weight for this fight. Bermudez, 27, fights out of Rosario, Argentina and holds the WBO super flyweight title. She also is moving up in weight for this fight. (For more on this read the story by Felipe Leon on this web site).
A lightweight match up saw Sara Marjanovic (2-5) snap a five-fight losing streak with a knockout win over debuting Milica Hajagos (0-1) in the first round. Marjanovic, 28, won two fights by knockout and fights out of Belgrade, Serbia. Hajagos, 18, fights out of Backa Topola, Serbia. The fight took place on Sunday in Belgrade.
A super featherweight fight ended quickly when Nurshahidah Roslie (4-0, 2 KOs) knocked out Krisna Limbaga (0-1) at 33 seconds of the opening round on Sunday Aug. 21. Roslie, 28, lives in Singapore. Limbaga fights out of the Philippines.
A flyweight bout saw Scarlett Budai (2-0) defeat Andrea Lakatos (1-12) by decision after four rounds on Friday Aug. 19. The fight took place in Sturovo, Slovakia. Budai, 17, fights out of Nana, Slovakia. Lakatos, 32, fights out of Hungary.
In Pugu, a super lightweight fight pits Joice Awino (6-3-1) facing Happy Daud (0-1) in a bout set for eight three-minute rounds. The match takes place on Sunday Aug 28.
In Philadelphia, Pa. a super featherweight fight between two debuting pros features Laurie Shiavo vs. Mary O’Leary in a four round bout on Friday Aug. 26. The fight card takes place in the Sugar House Casino.
In Lusaka, WBC bantamweight titlist Catherine Phiri (11-1) defends the title against South Africa’s Gabisile Tshabalala (9-1-1) on Saturday Aug. 27. Phiri is making the first defense of the world title she won back in January from Yazmin Rivas of Mexico. A welterweight battle between Lolita Muzeya (9-0) and Anisha Bashir (0-3) takes place. The fight is set for eight rounds. A flyweight bout pits Barbra Banda (2-0) vs. Mwenne Haji Gembo (0-0) in a six round bout.