Melvina Lathan, Chairperson
New York State Athletic Commission
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Heather “The Heat” Hardy
For Brooklyn’s Heather “The Heat” Hardy, the idea of becoming a professional fighter had never really crossed her mind. As a single mom holding down various jobs, her first foray into the gym consisted of taking kickboxing classes in Gerritsen Beach just to stay in shape. Within a few weeks, she was approached by a regular at the gym and was asked if she ever thought about fighting. At first, she was surprised and skeptical, but eventually entered the ring to spar. It was at that moment that Hardy realized what she was destined to do. As the old adage goes, “what is meant to be will always find a way.” Hardy had finally found her passion.
Eventually, Hardy found her way into the world-famous Gleason’s gym, which is known for its long list of world champions who got their start there, and more importantly, one of the first boxing gyms who encouraged and allowed women to box (in the early ‘80’s). It was at Gleason’s where she met WBC super bantamweight champion Alicia Ashley and her trainer brother Devon Cormack. They immediately noticed Hardy’s dedication, passion and preserverance. As her training progressed, she began her amateur boxing career in earnest. But things didn’t go as expected. She lost her first two bouts.
After some soul-searching, Hardy reacted the way a true champion would. She vowed not to lose anymore and under the guidance of Cormack, she won a slew of amateur titles and competitions as a super bantamweight, including the 2011 USA Boxing Metro Championships, the USA Boxing Regional National Champion and the silver at the New York City Golden Gloves competition. She found this success to be a humbling and amazing experience.
But admittedly, it hasn’t been easy for Hardy, who as a single mom and professional athlete faces hurdles others don’t. She has figured out how to balance motherhood and boxing. She begins her mornings at 4:30 am, preparing breakfast, school lunch, and ensuring that her daughter’s homework is finished. She then heads to Gleason’s and by 6:00 am, is training other fighters before starting her own regime to prepare herself for her upcoming match. Boxing has afforded Hardy discipline, commitment, consistency and the ability to condition herself mentally and physically, attributes that help her, and countless others, in everyday life. Boxing is a reflection of her own identity and the family and friends she represents every time she steps into the ring.
Fast-forward to 2013: Hardy has an undefeated professional record of 4-0 and boxing has now become more than a sport for her, it is a way of life. And Hardy is fighting for a cause bigger than her own. Apart from fighting for the world championship one day, she would also like to change how women are percieved in the sport. She would like to leave a legacy for not only her daughter to follow, but for all women who dream of becoming champions, not only in the ring, but also in life.
As for the inroads women have made in the sweet science, she believes that women have contributed to boxing as equally as men and in her words, “women fight just as hard, sweat just as much, and bleed just the same.” She will know women have made it in boxing when people stop referring to her as a “female boxer” and would like to see more publicity, recognition and equal oppprtunity for women in the sport. We have no doubt she will play an important role in promoting the women’s fight game.
As for her nickname, “The Heat,” Hardy states that she received that moniker by bringing the heat and pressure to her opponents, because when she is in the ring, she is not there to dance, but to win. Championship or not, Hardy has already proven she is a winner.