Tuesday Bombshells: Claressa Shields, Heather Hardy and Amanda Serrano incoming fights
By David A. Avila
It was a remarkable Tuesday.
The female prizefighting world dropped two bombs today: Claressa Shields will indeed fight Croatia’s Ivana Habazin in a super welterweight world title clash. And second, New York’s undefeated Heather Hardy will fight seven-division world champion Amanda Serrano.
There will be blood.
When WBO featherweight titlist Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs) meets Serrano (36-1-1, 27 KOs) at the Hulu Theater Madison Square Garden on Saturday Sept. 13, it pits two of Brooklyn’s most popular female prizefighters in the same boxing ring. DAZN will stream the fight card.
The promoters may have to move the entire fight card to the big arena.
For years Hardy has been a major ticket seller for her promoter DiBella Entertainment with sales exceeding $30,000. Serrano too draws fans to her events especially after winning world titles in the super flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight divisions.
Like Hardy, the Puerto Rican southpaw Serrano is also promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
Hardy recently captured the WBO title with an impressive showing against Shelly Vincent last October in Madison Square Garden. It was the same title held by first Amanda Serrano, then her older sister Cindy Serrano, who later moved up in weight to challenge Ireland’s Katie Taylor for the lightweight title.
Now, Amanda Serrano, who was deemed super champion by the WBO which is based in Puerto Rico, is looking to reclaim the featherweight title. More than that, she’s looking to face the gritty Hardy in a New York showdown.
It doesn’t get better than this.
“We found out in February that as a super-champion Amanda could call out any champion in any weight division and she would be the next defense — and she chose me,” stated Hardy, 37. ““It will be my first time competing as an underdog even as the current world champion but I’m excited as hell.”
Serrano had sought a match against Taylor in the lightweight division but negotiations were rocky and unfruitful. But a match with fellow Brooklynite Hardy was eagerly sought.
“Heather is 22-0 for a reason, she always finds a way to win. We’ve sparred in the past and I’ve never had an easy day with her,” said Serrano, 30. “So many of the other champions vacated their belts to avoid fighting me but Heather is a true world champion who will not give up her belt.”
New York’s not big enough. Or the Hulu Theater may not be big enough to hold the number of fans wanting to witness this epic showdown.
“Neither Hardy nor Serrano have ever been in a bad fight, both Brooklynites have passionate fan bases and are tremendous ambassadors for women’s boxing,” said Lou DiBella president of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a must-win fight for both boxers and will steal the show.”
After Claressa Shields sustained a leg injury while training a few months ago it was feared by Ivana Habazin that her title opportunity was lost for good. She used social media to accuse the two-time Olympic gold medalist and two division world champion of ducking her.
Habazin’s wish was granted when it was announced on Tuesday that Shields will fight her on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan. Showtime will televise the battle for the vacant WBO and WBC super welterweight titles.
Shields, 24, seeks to become the youngest to win world titles in three weight divisions. She first captured the super middleweight world title in August 2017, and then dropped to middleweight to win that title in June 2018. She also defeated Christina Hammer to become undisputed middleweight world champion. Now, she is dropping to a lower weight class once again in search of a super welterweight title at 154 pounds.
A leg injury that occurred this past June while running forced a postponement but Shields has recovered.
“I’m 100 percent recovered, and I can’t wait to get back in the ring and fight in front of my hometown fans in Flint as undisputed champion of the world,” said Shields. “Having the opportunity to become world champion in a third weight division faster than any man or woman in boxing history will make October 5 a night I will cherish forever. It’s another big step in history, and giant step forward in lifting women’s boxing on the road to equality.”
Habazin, a former welterweight world titlist, can now relax in knowing she has not lost the opportunity to face perhaps female boxing’s best fighter pound for pound.
“It’s an honor and a dream to fight in the U.S. on national television,” said Habazin, 29. “I am not just coming to fight for a world title, I am fighting for my life and my career. I believe I am the best and now I got the chance to prove that, and there is no better opponent for that than Claressa Shields.”
Shields is promoted by Salita Promotions and will be fighting for the first time in her hometown Flint.
“October 5 will be a magnificent event for Claressa Shields, for women’s boxing, and for Claressa’s hometown city of Flint,” said Mark Taffet, manager of Claressa Shields. “If she is victorious on October 5 she will become the fastest man or woman in boxing history to win a world title in a third weight division.”
All of these events were announced on Tuesday, what a day.