By Jason Marchetti
In less than a week, women’s boxing will get the grudge match fans have been asking for over the past three years. Brooklyn’s Heather Hardy (17-0, 4 KOs) will challenge Shelly Vincent (18-0, 1 KO) from Providence, Rhode Island in a ten round bout for the vacant WBC International featherweight title. The contest will take place Sunday, August 21st at the new Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island and will be televised by NBC as the co-feature to the IBF welterweight title eliminator featuring Errol Spence, Jr. vs Leonard Bundu.
Photos: Emily Harney
Vincent has been chasing Hardy for years, showing up at her fights and taunting her before, during, and after her bouts. Vincent claims Hardy has been avoiding her, but Hardy says she fights who her promoter and matchmaker suggest. There is genuine dislike between the fighters and their camps. They are both excellent ticket sellers and have tremendous pride in their undefeated records.
Hardy always believed that when the time was right, and TV was involved, the showdown would come together. She was right.
The fight was one step closer to happening when promoter Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment – the promoter of Hardy – signed Vincent last year. However, Vincent and Hardy still fought separate opponents for a year, sometimes on the same evening but at different venues, until DiBella was able to land a television showcase.
Now the fight is here!
Both fighters have fought recently, Vincent with a narrow decision over Christina Ruiz (7-9-3) last month at Foxwoods and Hardy with a comfortable win over Kirstie Simmons (8-2) in June.
Vincent is known for her bobbing and weaving style along with a high volume of punches. Except for one fight back in January 2016, Vincent has fought her entire career in New England. She has only one knockout in 18 fights, but she has an ability to score, win rounds and a rock-solid chin that frustrates her opponents.
Hardy has more fundamentals, relying on defense and footwork. Her most impressive wins came against Noemi Bosques, who she initially defeated by split decision (May 2015) but left some doubt in the hands of the judges. In the rematch a few months later (December 2015), Hardy won nearly every round on all of the scorecards. Hardy has fought her entire career in New York City.
Hardy trains at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn with trainer Devon Cormack. Vincent trains at Striking Beauties in North Attleboro, MA with Peter Manfredo, Sr.
At age 34, Hardy will come to the ring with the physical advantages, standing 5’5, and possessing a longer reach than her opponent. Hardy’s superior height and reach will not be a problem for Vincent, age 37, 5’0, who has a lot of experience fighting on the inside. Hardy has fought slightly better competition, however it’s clear this will be the toughest test in both of their careers.
Women’s boxing needs rivalries like Hardy versus Vincent. Showcasing a highly anticipated matchup such as Hardy-Vincent prime time on national television will help the sport, both inside and outside of the ring!
If it’s a close fight, perhaps we’ll see a rematch, maybe even a trilogy or more!
To read more about the New England boxing scene, visit www.NewEnglandBoxing.net