Despite never holding a world title, New York’s Heather Hardy is one of the highest-profile Stateside fighters and the fan-friendly slugger is willing to jump up in weight and put her undefeated record on the line and face the unified WBA-IBF lightweight champion
The Irish-American featherweight was one of three names mentioned by Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, as potential September opposition for the Wicklow fighter.
Hardy [21(4)-0] was put forward alongside Holly Holm and Amanda Serrano, with all three having entered the mixed martial arts game in search of greater financial reward. Hearn posed that, with his new billion-dollar DAZN deal, he could tempt the big names back to boxing for the breakthrough American fight needed for Taylor.
Serrano looks set to return to boxing regardless, targeting a light welterweight title – her sixth weight class – while Holm had spoken of a clash with Taylor years ago but has since became a superstar in the UFC.
36-year-old Hardy is, therefore, perhaps, the front-runner from this trio and the Brooklyn fighter is keen on a clash with the Irish star.
“There are only a handful of fights that I would consider,” Hardy told the42.ie in an in-depth interview.
“Like, you talk about Katie Taylor: very, very popular fighter right now, in the spotlight and close enough to my weight class that maybe we can make something happen. A fight with Katie Taylor is one of the only fights that will get me back in the boxing ring.”
“A fight with Katie Taylor would be tremendous – for women, for Brooklyn boxing, for Irish boxing!”
The Lou DiBella-promoted fighter, of Dublin extraction, is quite familiar with Taylor and is under no illusions of the challenge that the amateur legend would pose.
“Oh my God, she’s just phenomenal,” admits Hardy. “She produces beautiful, technical boxing, sound boxing – one of the best boxers I’ve seen: her distance, her footwork; her ability to stay out of range, to close the distance real fast, throw combinations and get out of there. I’ve not seen that before. That’s classic boxing skills.”
“When I first saw Katie fighting in Brooklyn I started to get excited. I was like: ‘Wow, okay, perhaps this could actually build up to something huge down the line: two Irish girls in Brooklyn’.”
Taylor [9(4)-0] is currently ticking over following her unification win over Victoria Noelia Bustos in April. A July unification with WBO titlist Rose Volante on a Dillian Whyte undercard had been mooted but, with Whyte’s next move up in the air, Hearn’s September Stateside plan looks to be the Bray boxer’s next move.