Amanda Serrano Defeats Heather Hardy in Battle for Brooklyn

Amanda Serrano Defeats Heather Hardy and Wins WBO and WBC Titles


By David A. Avila

In a fight that featured no surprises Puerto Rican southpaw Amanda Serrano scorched Heather Hardy early but needed to go the full 10 rounds in capturing the WBO and WBC featherweight world titles by unanimous decision on Friday.

“As I said before Heather is tough,” said Serrano. “She wasn’t going to just let me take that belt.”

The battle for Brooklyn saw Serrano (37-1-1, 27 KOs) give Hardy (22-1, 4 KOs) her first defeat in front of more than 4,000 fans at the Madison Square Garden Theater. It also set up the Boricua for a showdown with undisputed lightweight world champion Katie Taylor of Ireland.

But it wasn’t a breeze against Irish American fighter Hardy who was nearly stopped by an avalanche of blows in the first round by Serrano. For an instant, with just seconds to spare, it looked like referee Mike Ortega was about to call a halt, but the round ended naturally and Hardy returned to her corner bloodied on the top of her forehead.

“Heather’s a warrior,” Serrano said. “She stood the 10 rounds.”

After the Serrano blitzkrieg in the first round few would have given Hardy any chance of surviving the second round. But those who followed Hardy knew that quit is not part of her makeup and slowly but surely she began finding what worked and what failed.

“My plan is not to get hit,” Hardy said before the fight.

Serrano shot those razor straight lefts and sharp right hooks and just didn’t seem to miss. But once Hardy began moving her head and giving angles it forced Serrano to make changes in her attack and soon counters from the Irish fighter were beginning to increase.

Hardy had her best round in third round as Serrano seemed to take her foot off the gas; maybe to re-evaluate Hardy’s approach or simply to reboot her batteries. In any case Hardy landed more blows and for the first time in the fight an actual competitive contest was erupting and the fans seemed to love it.

Still, Serrano had walked into the boxing ring having conquered seven division world titles and those punches she fired seemed lethal. Hardy seemed dazed in the first round but quickly recuperated. From the third round until the end the Irish fighter known as “The Heat” caught fire and battled back with counters and exchanges.

If fans were looking for a knockout once it passed after the first round. Serrano never could catch Hardy with her power shots to the head. So the Puerto Rican lowered her sights and began targeting the body more and more. It proved to be a successful strategy against Hardy’s ability to slip punches.

After 10 rounds two judges scored it 98-91 and a third 98-92 all for Serrano who regains the WBO title she abandoned to go after other weight divisions, and the WBC Diamond belt.

“Heather is as tough as they come. She became a world champion for a reason,” said Serrano of the former champion. “She came to fight but I was just the better girl tonight.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing who guides the career of Ireland’s Taylor, said a match between Taylor and Serrano has already been signed.

“That would be the first female fight to headline Madison Square Garden. It’s a main event,” said Hearn of the possible lightweight clash. “They are going to move into the big bucks now.”

The possible showdown between Serrano and Taylor could be the next super fight in the female boxing world.

“No matter where it’s at I’m going to win,” said Serrano.


(Photo by JP Yim)