By Monica Hughes
Undefeated WBC International featherweight champion and current Bellator MMA fighter Heather “The Heat” Hardy (20-0, 4 KOs), (1-1 Bellator) is preparing for an upcoming MMA bout against former world boxing champion Ana Julaton (14-4-3, 4KOs), (2-3 MMA) at Bellator 194 on February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Serving as one of the co-feature attractions for event, it features two of American female boxing’s most recognizable stars. Hardy, 35, was on the verge of becoming the face of female boxing in the United States before being offered to fight for one of MMA’s premiere organizations in early 2017.
In a recent interview with ATG Radio, Hardy addressed whether she’s hung up her boxing gloves or if we’ll see the popular Brooklyn native back inside the squared circle.
“I didn’t leave boxing, I love boxing. Boxing is like a bad boyfriend, like Paulie Malignaggi said. You’ll leave it but you’ll always wind up coming back. Hardy told ATG Radio
“Boxing is my true love. Like I said it’s the old boyfriend that you can’t get away from. MMA is what’s paying my bills right now. I love to fight and it’s a great way for me to support my 13 year old daughter, who wants to go to private school and do other things.
“Like they say in Brooklyn, if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense!
“I love Bellator. Bellator be paying for my dinner, buying me wine. I’m getting all fancy gifts and stuff. But I’m still going back to boxing because I’m a gritty ol’ girl who loves that.
“I might not be the best, but I’m gonna stand out there make you tired of kicking my ass."
With taking a little break from boxing to focus and benefit on her Bellator career, she’s noticed the women’s boxing division is receiving some notoriety on major network television with Olympians Claressa Shield and Mikayla Mayer.
Though there is a ton of respect for the Shields and Mayer, Hardy feels they don’t necessarily deserve all the recognition for sparking the emerging women’s boxing revolution.
“Mikayla and Claressa are incredibly talented women. There’s no denying that. They’re extremely talented boxers but I think all the old school girls like me, Ana and all the old school girls will say there are tons of girls that are super talented," Hardy said.
“For years before the Claressa’s and the Mikayla’s, there were tons of girls fighting for recognition but the Olympics wouldn’t put female boxers in contention. We didn’t get a real chance to showcase the talent. We were all thankful for the Olympics when they said they were going to give women a chance.
“Of course they’re super talented and really good, but there’s so many of us that are super talented and really good.
“I wish that Showtime would take a bigger chance. I’m really thankful that their giving these girls the opportunities but the truth is that there is so many more of us. And I don’t just mean Heather Hardy because there are girls who are so much better than even me. Like my sparring partners at Gleason’s Gym, these are world champions who never got a chance to go to the Olympics. Girls like Alicia Ashley, Ronica Jeffries are the ones that are beating my butt, getting me ready for a fight, that nobody knows who they are. There are so many of us and we all deserve a chance.
A fight that would generate a lot of interest, especially in the New York area for Hardy, would be against her friend, fellow Brooklyn native and 5-division world champion Amanda Serrano (34-1, 26 KOs). It’s a fight that Hardy admitted could happen if the right offer was on the table.
“Amanda Serrano is one of my closest friends in boxing. We were sparring partners for a long time. When we were coming up, her manager Jordan, who is a really good friend of mine said “Girls, you will never entertain a fight unless they’re going to pay us so much that we both can go on vacations together. We ain’t fighting for pennies but if they’re pay us enough, we’ll go out there and do it."