Boxing provided Heather “The Heat” Hardy with new confidence and a new direction in life. Saturday in the Barclays Center ring will be a chance for her to give back to the sport.
The Gerritsen Beach native will compete in the first-ever women’s boxing match at the home of the Brooklyn Nets.
She steps into the ring with veteran fighter Jackie Trevolino in the 125-pound division on the undercard of the World Boxing Organization junior welterweight title bout between Russian “Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and Chris Algieri as part of HBO Boxing After Dark. Hardy’s fight will not be televised, but she still sees it as a big opportunity to promote women’s boxing to those in attendance.
“I’d like to show that women can put on just as good a show as some of the guys out there,” Hardy said.
Trainer Devon Cormack said the idea of punching through the glass ceiling added some extra stress leading up to this bout for the undefeated Hardy, who has only been boxing since 2010.
It’s a dream come true for Hardy to be able to fight in the premier venue of her home borough, and it’s also a symbol of how far she’s come since Hurricane Sandy forced her from her home. Since then she fell in love with the sport and has been a big proponent for a more even playing field for the women in boxing. Hardy enjoys having the chance to take a major step forward.
“I’m happy to take that responsibility,” she said.
In Trevolino, Hardy gets the challenge of being in the ring with a much more experienced fighter, who has battled world champions. Hardy is happy for another step up in competition following a unanimous-decision victory over Nydia Feliciano in March at Aviator Sports Complex, though she knows Trevolino will test her smarts as a fighter.
“I know I’m not going to go in there and show her anything she hasn’t seen,” Hardy said.
A big emphasis for Hardy has been improving her defense since a split-decision victory over Christina Fuentes in the final fight at Roseland Ballroom last December. Cormack knew then that she needed to learn to deal better with aggressive punchers.
The results of the work she put in were evident just watching her train. Hardy quickly avoided or blocked the majority of Cormack’s attempts to tap her at Gleason’s Gym in Dumbo on Tuesday.
“If you come across an opponent who you can’t beat up, might as well get out of their way also,” Cormack said.
Hardy can avoid punches on Saturday — but not history. That will made the minute the bell sounds, and she’s ready for her moment.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Hardy said. “But I’m glad that the pressure is on me.”
©2014 Community News Group
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