Brooklyn native Heather Hardy (15-0, 3 KOs) will try to remain undefeated when she fights tonight in front of her hometown crowd at Barclays Center.
As a female fighter in a largely male dominated sport, Hardy has had to work twice as hard as she climbs up the ladder to get noticed.
“For your first 15 fights there’s no difference [between men and women’s boxing],” she said. “However, there’s no room to grow because we’re not on TV. Promoters don’t want to invest in us so we never make any money. ‘Pride’ fights and ‘money’ fights are the same.”
Although her knockout ratio is incredibly low for a person who is trying to break the relatively untested gender lines in a sport like boxing, Hardy is no stranger to brawling, having gotten up off the canvas in fights to come back and hurt her opponents.
“You just go in and fight and say ‘I’m not gonna lose no matter what happens’” said Hardy. “When I was on the floor and the ref was counting, I’m saying in my head, ‘Shit, I sold all these tickets. I can’t lose—I gotta really beat her up.’”
Hardy was allegedly in talks to have her return bout against Noemi Bosques (10-6-2, 2 KOs) air on Showtime at some point during the Peter Quillin vs. Danny Jacobs card last December, but that didn’t come to fruition.
Given the mainstream success of women’s MMA, Hardy has noted her confusion as to televised boxing’s lack of willingness to get on board with women fighters.
“I wish I could tell you why,” she said. “I talked to the guys from Showtime and they were all for doing a female fight. They just say, ‘Oh we haven’t found the opportunity,’ or ‘We haven’t found the right card.’ I wish I knew where I could pinpoint it.”
“But it’s hard to break into anything,” Hardy concluded. “Whether I became a boxer or decided I wanted to be a part of a traveling circus, it was going to be hard. It’s just a decision I made.”