Heather Hardy, Amanda Serrano set for Garden title fight
It’s not listed as the main event, but it might as well be considering the location and the two combatants involved. Two of the most prominent fighters in New York women’s boxing face each other Friday night when Heather Hardy defends her WBO featherweight title against Amanda Serrano at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Both are from Brooklyn. Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs) will be making the first defense of the title she won last October, and Serrano (36-1-1, 27 KOs) is a seven-weight world champion. The women’s bout will support the main event featuring Las Vegas resident Devin Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) against Zaur Abdullaev (11-0, 7 KOs) of Russia to become the mandatory challenger to WBC lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko. Also, Michael Hunter (17-1, 12 KOs) will battle Sergey Kuzmin (15-0, 11 KOs) in a heavyweight bout. DAZN will live stream the main card beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
“Heather Hardy is as tough as they come, so we knew she wouldn’t back down from the fight,” Serrano said. “This will be 20 minutes, 10 rounds of non-stop action. We will show we deserve to be here. It’s going to be a hell of a fight and a great night of boxing.”
With Haney born in the Bay Area and Abdullaev from Russia, the Serrano-Hardy fight is carrying the promotion. The two women have been at the center of women’s boxing in recent years, pushing for higher purses and more appearances on television. It has been a slow process.
“The door has been nudged open for women in boxing, but the door needs to be knocked down,” said New York-based boxing promoter Lou DiBella. “Women fights are entertaining, and people clearly will buy tickets to a venue to see women fight.”
Hardy and Serrano have both dabbled in MMA to make extra revenue, but their foundation is boxing.
“I’ve become known as the girl talking about the pay and equality,” Hardy said. “But it’s never a reflection of how grateful I am to be here, crying to pictures over at Madison Square Garden with my mom thinking we made it. I’m thankful for Amanda choosing me. She’s the best boxer in the world right now. I’m ready. I’m the toughest girl in boxing.”