Outside the Ring: Heather Hardy

By Jill Diamond on August 2, 2017
Outside the Ring: Heather Hardy
“Does it ever end? Will I ever be satisfied with what is? It's that alpha female gene I guess.”

“I was married and divorced, have my degree in Forensic Psychology and was kind of a lost soul until I found boxing…”

Sports and Philanthropy: A series of articles dedicated to those who’ve given their all and still give more. Each article will feature a different community champion; no belts, no medals, no ratings… just good people passing it on.

The HEAT. That’s what she’s called inside the ring. And with her blonde pigtails, precise combinations, and classic, good-looks, she radiates it. Outside the ring she’s Heather Hardy, mom, boxer, combat artist and warrior: struggling for a salary equivalent to her skill level and dedication. Like many other female champions, and as a single mother, she continues to find ways to support herself, so she can train properly and take a fight. One of those ways is cross-training and competing as an MMA fighter. And, as history has proven, a good female Boxer vs. a good MMA fighter… boxer takes the win. Given the late sanctioning of women’s boxing, many of our women champions began in as kickboxers. Add the power of their fists, and no surprise.

In her spare time, such as it is, Heather has been there for others. Whether it’s Give a Kid a Dream, or Hope for Henry, where she stayed in touch with a devastatingly ill child she met on a hospital visit, her good heart seems to lead her. So, like a woman. So, like a fighter. As her ring song states: “This girl is on Fire,” and it’s one that’s warm and exciting; a gracious presence, in a tough sport.

A snapshot of your life before boxing?

I grew up in a working-class, Irish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Both my parents worked two jobs to put me and my brother and sister through Catholic school. I took care of them growing up because my parents worked so much. I was married and divorced, have my degree in Forensic Psychology and was kind of a lost soul until I found boxing. Knew I had so much to contribute to the world, but wasn’t sure how I could do it.

Who’s on your Team?

My head coach, Devon Cormack has been with me since day one and taught me everything I know and am today inside that ring. He wrapped my hands for my first amateur fight and saw me win my 20th :). Blimp helped me get my first shot in the pros with Lou DiBella. I never forgot that and try to include him in every corner I can. Hector Roca has been helping me, dedicating his time to me for years without ever taking a penny. Now that I’ve ventured into MMA I am also coached by Daniel Gracie and Coach Nick, who also help with my boxing training as well.

Aside from the technical team, I’m nothing without my family.

Who are you when you enter the ring?

I’m always Heather. The fierce, relentless warrior I am in real life translates well inside both the ring and the cage.

What is the most difficult part of training?

The diet! I love to eat, I’m a fat girl at heart!

What is it like to carry the expectations of so many women athletes and fans?

I carry it with pride and purpose. The expectations I put on myself are far higher than anything coming from the outside in, because I know what I’m capable of achieving. God didn’t bless me with all the talent in the world. But I’m Irish :) and I’m not afraid to work hard and chase after what I want and what I know I deserve.

How do you handle “jealousy”?

It’s painful and aggravating. Boxing has long been a sport that is quite selective in the slots they hold out for women. In 2017, we are now evolving. You almost always see at least one female on a fight card. But the problem remains that there are so many talented women fighting EACH OTHER for that one spot. WHICH IS WRONG! We should all be banding together and fighting the person who decides we only get ONE SPOT. Jealousy directed at or towards me keeps us in this cycle of oppression. We are stronger together.

Do you consider yourself a role model?

I’m a dork lol. When people tell me, I inspire them or that I am their role model—I don’t quite understand it. I’m just out here doing the best I can with what I have. Shouldn’t we all do that?

How does your daughter react to your career?

She is 13 and totally unimpressed by me :). She loves me to death, but this is just “Mommy’s job”...that I’ve always had. I’m sure one day she’ll look back and realize how cool it is, but for now I’m still the mom that yells at her to brush her hair as she rolls her eyes and slams her bedroom door.

Your priorities?

Family. God. Self

How did Hurricane Sandy affect your life? Your training?

It sucked. We were all displaced for a long time. But we were all safe and healthy and that’s all that really matters. My mother taught us all that shit happens. Take the good from it and keep on keeping on.

What was you most difficult fight?

They’re all hard :) I’m not the most talented boxer, I won’t even pretend to be. I just impose my will until I win, and almost every fight takes all I got to keep it pushing.

Your proudest moment?

So many in my life. Giving birth to Annie. I was a high-risk pregnancy and there was a 60% chance she would’ve been stillborn. I had to give myself shots every day in my stomach, so holding her that first time was a major relief.

Winning nationals as an amateur was a highlight…winning my WBC belts. Winning my MMA debut in Madison Square Garden…hearing 20,000 people shout my name. I won’t forget that moment ever.

A fight you’d like to see?

I can’t wait for GGG / Canelo. My two favorite fighters.

A fight you’d like to be in?

I would love the opportunity to fight for the WBC featherweight world title against Jelena.

What charitable organizations are you involved with?

I was involved with Gleason’s “Give a Kid a Dream” for a few years but the management changed and I am no longer in the program.

Is it an athlete’s obligation to give back?

I think it’s a human’s obligation to give back. Pay it forward. None of us got where we are today without the help of someone, and it’s our duty to be that “someone” for another person. I am not making a livable salary with my boxing right now, so I’m “momming” full time and working full time in addition to my training. But I give back when and where I can.

How do you use your platform to influence?

I try to use every opportunity I have a microphone and an audience to speak out about the injustices I see in the sport I love so much. To speak for all the women without a voice whose talents have long gone unnoticed.

What changes would you like to see in Women’s Boxing? In Boxing in general?

I would like to see a time when it stops being called Woman’s Boxing and it’s just boxing. Where slots are given to the BOXERS who deserve them, not based on gender, but on talent. Too many times there are fight cards stacked with a predominantly male undercard full of fights no one wants to see. How about all the female world champions fighting once a year, in other countries, because they can’t find opportunities here? Epic fights that have gone unnoticed simply because they are women. It’s sad. And someone needs to talk about it. 

Advice for women athletes starting out?

There will be a million obstacles. But know that with hard work and dedication you can overcome them. You just have to want it more than you’ll want to quit.

What is your life outside the ring?

Hectic! Cross training for MMA has me training in a lot of different sports, at different gyms, in different cities. Plus, I’m still training clients full time at Gleason’s Gym and I’m a mom! That means homework and after school activities and cooking dinner and being present for my teenage daughter. Very little time for much else.

What would you like people to know about you that they might not?

That I’m not this super talented athlete who just woke up destined to be a champion. I had to be taught everything I know, and I acknowledge that not only are there boxers who are WAY better than me, I know how much room I have for improvement in my technical game and I’m still working EVERY DAY to get better. My confidence comes from my will to win and my resolve to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I’m ready for the champions. There is no one out there right now that I wouldn’t fight.

A film was made about you. So much more has happened. Tell us how the new one ends?

Does it ever end? Will I ever be satisfied with what is? Ha-ha. Not sure, it’s that alpha female gene I guess.

Outside the Ring: David Berlin
Outside the Ring: Sam Hadfield
Outside the Ring: Steve Farhood
Outside the Ring: Kathy Duva
Outside the Ring: Comanche Boy
Outside the Ring: Margaret Goodman
Outside the Ring: Allen Furst
Outside the Ring: Lonnie and Muhammad Ali
Outside the Ring: Bruce Silverglade
Outside the Ring: Mauricio Sulaiman
Outside the Ring: Luke Downdey
Outside the Ring: Kevin Iole
Outside the Ring: Barry Halbritter
Outside the Ring: Chicago Youth Boxing Club
Outside the Ring: Robert Guerrero
Outside the Ring: Mike Tyson
Outside the Ring: Teresa Tapia
Outside the Ring: Israel Vasquez
Outside the Ring: Holt McCallany
Outside the Ring: Monique Sciberras
Outside the Ring: Joe Dwyer
Outside the Ring: Dr. Nitin Sethi
Outside the Ring: Richard Steele
Outside the Ring: Boyd Melson
Outside the Ring: Elena Cox
Outside the Ring: Blanca Gutierrez
Outside the Ring: Dr. Meeryo Choe
Outside the Ring: Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia
Outside the Ring: Monica Sears
Outside the Ring: Mercedes Vázquez
Outside the Ring: 2Nations1Dream
Outside the Ring: Christy Martin
Outside the Ring: Abelardo Beas
Outside the Ring: Terri Moss
Outside the Ring: Larry Holmes
Outside the Ring: Luigi Olcese
Outside the Ring: Heather Hardy

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. David 03:24pm, 08/07/2017

    Men pro boxing is brutal to watch, and it sometimes seems insane that we still have boxing in the 21st century, but women pro boxing is just plain silly.

  2. Boxing Fan 08:46am, 08/06/2017

    And   NEW   WBC   featherweight champion of the world - Heather The Heat Hardy !!  You can do it HH

  3. Anonymous 03:02pm, 08/02/2017

    Thomas Hauser doesn’t like her as if that means anything because he is not all that keen on females doing what men do. But then he is a real MAN

  4. Kid Blast 11:52am, 08/02/2017

    I love HH but stay clear of Jelena. She is a beast.

  5. Kid Blast 11:50am, 08/02/2017

    The Heat

Leave a comment