By: Bryant Romero
Heather “The Heat” Hardy (20-0, 4 KOs) makes her return to ring on April 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after nearly a full year away from the sport where she will be a part of the Broner vs Vargas undercard. For the past year, Hardy had been competing in Bellator where she currently holds a 2-1 record as a mixed martial artist. But is now ready to return to the ring and do what she loves and does best. However, Hardy acknowledges that there may be ring rust apparent after nearly a year away from the sport.
“There is definitely a little ring rust but I’m not feeling weird or nervous at all,” Hardy said. “I jumped into a camp about a week and half ago and I’m already seeing huge improvements. It’s just a matter of getting my body back into the boxing mode and not the cage.”
Her next opponent is a late replacement in Iranda Paola Torres (12-2-1, 5 KOs) who stepped in as Ana Julaton would unexpectedly announce her retirement from combat sports. Hardy is not bothered by the change in opponent but was surprised to hear of Ana’s retirement who Hardy defeated in her last appearance at Bellator this past February.
“I was really surprised, but you have to respect that Ana was a champion for a lot of years and people are saying ‘oh she just don’t want to fight you.’ I’m sure there is a lot more into it,” Hardy said.
“Ana has never back down or was afraid to get into a fight. The boxing industry is a hard industry to love. I say it all the time if I didn’t love it so much I wouldn’t be able to put up with it. So I’m sure it had some to do with why she’s going to retire.”
Hardy’s next fight is considered a tune-up but it’s an important bout for her to gain some momentum towards a world title opportunity. She also reveals there are only 3 fights that she wants in boxing. Boxinginsider would then ask when does she expect a world title shot if all goes well against Torres on April 21?
“I spoke to the guys and told them. Obviously, I wasn’t begging for a title shot. I haven’t been in the ring in a year.
“I definitely got to get into the momentum of things. That and two other fights I want to do when it comes to boxing.
“I’m a 126 pound champion, I’m number 3 in the world and I’d like to fight number 2 and number 1. I would like to start talking to the guys after this fight to see when it would make sense.
“I know there’s some stuff going on at the Barclay’s Center in August and I would love to get a big fight lined up for that,” Hardy told boxinginsider.
And as for Bellator, will she be returning to the cage in the near future?
“Yes I will be fighting in Bellator in June. I’ll be ready in June for what might come up,” Hardy said.