Heather Hardy Tells Boxing Insider Radio How She’s Been Dealing With Quarantine Life: “I Miss Boxing”
COVID-19, may have forced us inside of our homes, but Boxing Insider Radio is still here to keep you up to date with what’s going on in the boxing world. For this weeks episode, former WBO Featherweight champion Heather Hardy calls in to give us some details on how she has been dealing with her new reality. To tune into the show simply subscribe to Boxing Insider Radio on Spotify, iTunes or on Boxinginsider.com.
Even during what most would consider the most boring times of their lives, former WBO Featherweight champion Heather Hardy finds ways to be active. She is constantly on FaceTime with her friends and family, zoom sessions with clients also keep her occupied. She also continues to stay in shape during a period where mostly everyone else is lounging around eating potato chips and laying on the couch. And her teenage daughter also keeps her busy as well.
Throughout all of her daily activities, Hardy flashes her one of a kind smile. The same one that used to brighten up every and any room she walks into. But now, due to COVID-19, it simply illuminates her living room and bedroom.
If you took a close at Hardy, you will notice that previously mentioned smile. But if you glared a bit longer, you’ll see the cracks in that happy mask that she places on her face everyday and take notice of the same issues she is having like everyone else.
“It’s really challenging,” said Hardy on Boxing Insider Radio. “I just did my first kids class recently so I think that we’re all adjusting to this. I’m learning that you can’t have too many people in the room because then it becomes super challenging to correct everyone and make sure that no one gets hurt. Boxing virtually is one of those things where the only thing you can do is shadow box so that’s challenging. But it’s like everything else in life. We adjust, we adapt and figure out a way to the other side.”
Adapting is something that Hardy has grown accustomed to doing over the years. It’s the reason why even at 38, she’s still at the top of her game in the boxing ring. It’s also the reason why she has been able to seamlessly transition from the boxing ring to the cold steely gates that are associated with MMA. But still, even with her successfully altering her everyday life, Hardy isn’t expecting it to last forever.
“No, I’ll be honest. It’s like saying do you think the people that figured out how to cook dinner every night aren’t going to go back to the restaurants. Or the people who are cutting their own hair, are they going to go back to the barber? I think everybody is really anxious to get life back. The gym more than anything because it’s so much more than just working out. It’s about being around a community of people.”
Being able to line yourself up in the barber chair at home is a talent not too many possess, but it could never replace the fun and curse filled debates that are associated with the barbershop. They are all missed. The barbershops, boxing gyms, coffee shops etc. And while she would love to get back to her normal lifestyle and her well needed paychecks, her life isn’t worth the risk.
“I’m not going to be comfortable going back to work until the governor gives that order that it is safe. As much as everyone is hurting, it’s saving lives. I’m not willing to risk my health and the health of anyone else in order to make a dollar.”
The thought of social distancing is something that we all could be forced to deal with the foreseeable future. No matter how surly those who are affected by it may get, there just isn’t much of a solution at the moment to placate anyone.
With that being said, not every establishment can pull it off.
“It’s going to be really dangerous in there,” mentioned Hardy about the thought of social distancing inside of the boxing gyms once they reopen. “The bag area alone is dangerous. If you have each person on the heavy bag you’re not even two feet apart, let alone six feet apart. Working out in that kind of high intensity training isn’t really conducive to people running around with masks on.”
“I think we are all going to be conscious of germs. I can remember that for ten years teaching boxing, I never cleaned my pads off between sessions. You just don’t think of that. You’re just banging the pads. You’re having someone punch you in the face with gloves that have been sitting in the locker for two weeks. I think we are all going to be conscious from now on.”
For now though Hardy isn’t getting punched in the face as the boxing gyms remain closed. And while Hardy is known for her toughness, as illustrated in her second MMA bout where she continued to fight even after her nose seemingly exploded from a shin to the face, she also has a soft side.
“Bellator has sent my manager a note wishing me the best but for right now they are on a shutdown and there is no plan for the future. Lou Di Bella is more like family, sometimes family in a bad way but family,” said Hardy while laughing. “We keep in touch once a week just to make sure everyone is okay. This virus is just ripping through people’s homes and lives and tearing this apart. I’ve been conscious to keep in contact with who I miss. I miss boxing, I miss Lou.”
Boxing is Still Fighting Back Against The Coronavirus
By: Hans Themistode
Reality has slowly set in.
This isn’t a movie. Nor is it a new television series on the Sci Fi channel. No, the Coronavirus pandemic has turned the lives of everyone around the world into something that they can hardly recognize.
Bars have been shut down, clubs have boarded up their doors, clothing stores have turned their customers away and boxing gyms have seen their steely doors closed shut.
Although every sport and the lives of everyone has been affected in a major way, boxing and fitness companies have seemingly taken the biggest hit.
From the moment the Coronavirus made its unwanted presence known, the sport of boxing was sent reeling. Boxing events that were scheduled to take place months in advance were forced to cancel and fighters were forced to switch from their daily fitness routines to one that now resembles the life of a potato couch. Even names that seem invincible inside of the ring such as Canelo Alvarez, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury were forced to take a standing eight count.
Fighters who spent their entire lives ducking punches, are now being taught a new way to fight, as social distancing has been deemed the best way to end the spread of the virus.
Although it has been proven to be our best line of defense, the unexpected closure of boxing gyms comes with a heavy price. Unlike clothing stores and other businesses that serve one particular need, boxing gyms provided individuals with more than just a place to throw punches.
“That gym is an outlet for so many people,” said former amateur boxing standout and current owner of SouthBox gym Eric Kelly. “They work on their craft and achieve their goals. Some people want to be champions while others want to just shed a few pounds. Everybody has different training purposes. For others that gym is therapy. It’s a way out from whatever struggles they might be going through. Whether it struggles at home, at work or with spouses. The gym is just a way out for them.”
Eric Kelly has long had a love affair with the boxing gym. It’s where he not only made his name, but it’s also how he supports himself and his five kids. Over the years, Kelly evolved from a promising New York City fighter, to a street fighter, to now, one of the most recognizable names in the sport of boxing.
That isn’t hyperbole either. No matter if it’s a boxing arena with some of the biggest stars in the world present or simply a small gym with just your average joe’s trying to get a work out in, Kelly becomes the center of attention from the moment that he walks in. So to say that Kelly is feeling the effects of this abrupt work stoppage, would be putting it mildly.
“I’m a parent. I have five children. I’ve got a lot of bills and a lot of responsibilities. That gym is where I make my money. But also traveling to various gyms throughout the city to make my money. But all the gyms are closed, so what do I do?”
Unlike other companies that have no alternatives, Kelly has a few other options in terms of work. But they are hardly ideal.
“I’ve tried a few workouts through FaceTime and Skype but the transition isn’t smooth at all. It’s just not a convenient way of doing things.”
The inconvenience that Kelly describes is replaced with anxiety and fear when speaking to former world champion Heather Hardy.
The life of an athlete is different. Almost gloried to a certain degree. This current work stoppage affects the working class and those that live paycheck to paycheck. Not those who make constant television appearances such as Heather Hardy.
It’s true. Hardy has become a star over the years. Attracting major fights and gracing TV sets with her fan friendly style. But unlike her male counterparts who can afford a work stoppage for an extended amount of time, Hardy cannot.
“I am panicked,” said Hardy. “I’ll be honest, I am panicked, but I’m still functional. When Bruce told me this morning that Gleason’s is closing, I fell on the floor and cried because I don’t know how I’m going to take care of my family.”
“A lot of times, my fights will help me pay some late bills, allow me to treat my daughter to things we normally wouldn’t be able to afford. But my day-to-day job is what keeps the lights on,” she continued. “I train for fights and still teach my clients because I rely on them so heavily. It’s going to be a hard transition not fighting and not having that good paycheck.”
The tears that ran down the face of Hardy during her interview, highlighted the pain and struggle of a female fighter. For years, Hardy has pointed the finger in the direction of women’s pay in the boxing world. But oftentimes, she’s been overlooked.
Still, regardless of her circumstances, Hardy is trying to take the little that she does have and give back to those who need it most.
“We have to be really kind to each other and understand that for as little as we feel we have, there are people who have less than us. How can we help people with less than us? We start from the top, so that we can all make it to the other side … and rebuild together.”
The rebuild for Hardy and the entire boxing community won’t come easy. It also won’t come from taking a lackadaisical approach. No, creativity is the key to get out of this current mess.
“This whole situation forces you to think. You have to think outside of the box. You have to get creative. If you want to be special then you have to mastermind a plan that’s going to serve you good during this downtime. You have to use this time right now to figure things out. Your back is against the wall so what you gonna do? You can’t go to work, you can’t go chill at your boys house. You can’t even just go out for a walk so what you gonna do? Use this time to think. If you are an elite mind, then you can use this time to your advantage and that’s what I’m going to do. I can’t sit here and cry. You’re still alive so you have to figure things out.”
Too many times has sports been used in comparison to life.
A basketball court is just that, a basketball court. The football field is simply a green piece of grass. The correlation between those sports and life are infinitesimal. But boxing on the other hand, provides more life lessons than them all.
For professional fighters, they are taught how to fight during the most adverse situations. They’ve also been given the ability to adapt no matter what.
Those life lessons that Kelly learned in the ring, is exactly what he is leaning on today to get him through this situation.
“The fight is 12 rounds. You might lose the first round, you might lose the second round. You might get knocked down in the ninth round or you might get knocked down in the tenth round, but guess what? It ain’t over til it’s over. You got 12 rounds. I done seen dudes get knocked out in the 12th round. So you never give up. I’m not going to break down, I’m going to break through.”
Billy Joe Saunders Gets License Suspended and is Ripped by Heather Hardy and Claressa Shields
By: Hans Themistode
For the better part of four years, WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders spent the vast majority of his time calling out Canelo Alvarez. After years of employing the same tactics, Saunders finally got his wish. A date with Alvarez on May 2nd with Saunders WBO title on the line.
Now, ironically enough, Saunders used his words to land the biggest fight of his career. But now, his words are about to cost him.
With the entire world seemingly on quarantine thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, Saunders thought it would be funny to share a video of what men should do to their female spouses should they get on their nerves too much during isolation.
Saunders quickly found out that he was the only one in the room laughing.
Domestic violence has always been a hot button topic. Too many athletes have found themselves in trouble for simply failing to keep their hands to themselves. Saunders may not have actually put his hands on a female, but everyone, including his promoter Eddie Hearn is shaking their head at him.
“I was appalled really,” said Hearn. “It was so idiotic, it was so frustrating because I know Billy well. He’s a really good kid, with a really good heart … but every now and again he does the most stupid things.”
“It’s unacceptable for Joe Bloggs down the street to do it. It’s much more unacceptable for a world champion boxer to be doing it. People who are in abusive relationships are watching that video. You cannot do it, it’s unacceptable.”
Unfortunately, domestic violence is a common occurrence. Yet, you might be willing to bet that one woman has never had to deal with it. That would be arguably the best female boxer in the world, Claressa Shields. With two gold medals, world titles in three different weight classes and an undefeated record, you would have to be crazy to even think about putting your hands on Shields.
While she isn’t worried about herself. She did offer a bit of advice to all the ladies in abusive relationships.
Necessary? Also yes.
Another fighter who decided to jump all over Billy Joe Saunders is former WBO Featherweight champion Heather Hardy.
“This is not funny,” Hardy wrote in a Tweet that she has since deleted. “I can’t imagine the number of people quarantined in abusive and dangerous spaces right now, and this dumb piece of sh*t makes a joke about ‘how to hit your annoying wife.”
The words of Hardy, Shields and Hearn were sharp, but Saunders really felt it when his boxing license was suspended.
“Having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media,” the BBBofC said in a statement, “we have suspended his boxer’s license pending a hearing under the board’s misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.”
Saunders has always been known as having thick skin and unapologetic. But this time around, he’s noticed that he made a huge mistake.
For what it’s worth, the boxing community has seemingly appreciated the apology. Even Hardy came around and apparently wants to sweep things under the rug.
While Hardy may not think that Saunders is “dick head” the rest of the world may still feel that way. He has always been perceived in an unfavorable light and this situation certainly doesn’t help.
If Saunders hopes to get into the good graces of everyone he’ll need to take even more action. That would include becoming a social advocate against domestic violence.
As for his contest with Canelo, unless he can somehow get his license back, he may have lost the biggest fight of his career before it even started.
WBC Agrees With Everlast Campaign to Remove The Word “Female” From All Championship Belts
By: Hans Themistode
It’s a man’s world.
That has always been the phrase that many have lived by. The meaning behind it is simple. Men rule just about everything. Especially sports, and boxing in particular. Men receive much higher pay for the same sort of work, and they are also given the type of recognition that a woman can only dream of.
If you believe that phrase is still relevant in today’s day and age, then you are living in the stone ages. Behind every successful man, has always been a strong woman. To take things even further, men are beginning to take a backseat to women.
The sport of boxing has always been dominated by men. Truthfully, it still is. Men take control of the headlines and rise to the top at a much faster rate than their female counterparts.
Fair? Of course not. But there is no time to simply sit by and complain about it. Instead, it’s time for action.
Everglast, one of the foremost brands in boxing, is leading the way with their new move entitled: First Is Strong. The ad highlights women who have created their own path through the boxing world.
See, it’s easy to follow the footsteps of those who came before you. Watch the blueprint that is already laid in front of you to your own success. But it’s something different entirely when there is no blueprint. No roadmap to follow. No footsteps to imitate.
What the hell are you supposed to then?
You could always quit. Make the assumption that it’s impossible. Maybe the path that you’ve decided to go on is a bit too difficult and it’s time to turn back. Or, you can keep moving forward and make your own path. Build your own way and become the blueprint that others will use when you’re long gone.
That is exactly what former world Featherweight champion Heather Hardy has done. Along with boxing promoter Kathy Duva and journalist Kris Herndon, to name a few.
So how special are these three women in particular? Well, Kathy Duva is one of the most successful boxing promoters in the world. Not an easy thing to do considering how male dominated her profession is. The hard work she’s put in over the years has paid off as she will become just the third female ever to be inducted into the hall of fame this coming June. For male’s who are looking to be a part of her team, don’t even bother. She currently has an all female executive board and her daughter is set to take over once her mother decides to walk away.
As for Heather Hardy, she won the Featherweight world title back in 2018, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.
Hardy became the first female boxer to fight at Barclay Center, in Brooklyn, New York in 2014. She also became the first woman to fight on a national television broadcast as well. Those accomplishments, coupled with her outside of the ring battles including homelessness and sexual abuse, highlights the sort of grit that she has and why she become so successful.
Much like Heather Hardy, Kris Herndon dealt with her own sexual abuse. The trauma may have left her scarred, but certainly not broken.
To sum it all up, these women have fought their way to make it here today.
Simply honoring these women would be more than enough. Well, maybe for anyone else, but not for Everlast. The company has recently launched a campaign to have the word “female” removed from the WBC and WBO sanctioning bodies.
The goal is simple. Forget about genders and just acknowledge women as champions. So far, the WBC has agreed.
“The WBC joins @Everlast campaign in the quest for gender equality,” said the WBC via their Instagram page. “The World Boxing Council has always distinguished itself as a pioneer in regulating boxing and fighting for human rights throughout the entire range of the sports world.”
“For this very reason we adhere to the struggle of women around the world in the search for equity, as well as the various campaigns that have been launched to end discrimination and abuse, and we join the Everlast brand campaign, “ #changethebelt “making the decision to immediately modify our emblematic belt by removing the word “Female” and thus maintain the status of champion regardless of gender; call Champion a Champion.”
With the WBC already onboard with the current change, the ball is now in the court of the WBO.