Professional boxers Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent are no strangers to throwing punches in the ring, but just days ahead of their long-awaited rematch at Madison Square Garden, the outspoken fighters announced they would put down their gloves to unite with the U.S. Center for SafeSport and share the importance of athlete well-being through abuse-prevention in sport.
“As a sexual assault survivor, I really appreciate the crucial work the U.S. Center of SafeSport is doing by educating athletes on what all forms of abuse look like and providing crucial resources that empower athletes,” said professional boxer and MMA fighter Heather Hardy. “Through their efforts I’ve learned so much about abuse-prevention and encourage young women and girls, especially in male-dominated sports like boxing, to familiarize themselves with the Center and its important mission.”
“The competitive nature of sport provides an environment where unacceptable behavior is often swept under the rug,” said professional boxer and advocate Shelly Vincent. “I know first-hand that athletes are hesitant to step up and say anything because they fear retaliation. The U.S. Center for SafeSport is changing the game by providing accessible abuse-prevention resources and working diligently to make sure the well-being of athletes is a priority.”
“Partnering with Heather and Shelly as they’re making history is an honor,” said Shellie Pfohl, CEO of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. “They understand the importance and positive impacts of speaking up and out against abuse. We’re thrilled to have such fierce fighters of advocacy in our corner.”
As an independent non-profit headquartered in Denver, the Center provides services to sport entities on abuse prevention techniques, policies and programs, and provides a safe, professional and confidential place for individuals to report sexual abuse within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
Hardy and Vincent will box on Oct. 27 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fight will be telecast by HBO. It’s the second women’s boxing fight of more than 1,100 matches aired in the network’s history.