(CBS Local)– Brooklyn native Heather Hardy has been through it all in her life.
She slept in Gleason’s Gym when she started her boxing career, worked multiple jobs to provide for her daughter, and left boxing for MMA in order to get the pay day and attention she was looking for. All of these things have prepared Hardy for Bellator 222 at Madison Square Garden Friday night.
“I was 28 before I ever put gloves on my hands,” said Hardy in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I was going through a divorce and living with my sister. We were two single moms with no child support and I was working a ton of jobs. She said here’s a gift certificate for a karate school, go and try it. Within three weeks of walking in the gym I won my first first. It felt so good and it was the first time I ever felt I was good at anything.”
Hardy has always had the mindset that things are hard before they get good. While there were great moments during her boxing career, there were also some really frustrating moments.
“My 15th pro fight at the Barclays Center, I sold close to $40,000 in tickets. I was defending my WBC title against the number two contender and they put my fight on before they even opened the doors,” said Hardy. “I walked out to Girl On Fire and walked through an empty stadium and not one person clapped their hands. That was the last boxing match I did before I turned pro for MMA. I just thought I can’t do any more, I can’t give any more.”
Hardy was 22-0 in her boxing career before making the jump to MMA. She is 2-1 in her short career and got her first victory at Madison Square Garden. That is a moment she will never forget for a number of different reasons.
“I was the first female to box at the Barclays Center and no girl ever did what I did there,” said Hardy. “I fought 10 times there and it really became my home. There is something so special about The Garden. That’s where Billy Joel plays his piano. That was one of the few times I’ve seen my Dad cry. When he went up to get a soda and saw all my pictures on all the TVs, it’s a big moment to perform there.”
Hardy takes on Taylor Turner Friday night at Bellator 222 on DAZN.