By Marc Livitz: Although she’d not lost a fight since her lone defeat to Heather Hardy in August of 2016, Shelly Vincent was dealt the same hand on Saturday night in Manhattan. Punches were thrown as well as landed in bunches, yet Hardy did more than enough to capture the vacant WBO World Female Featherweight title at the Hulu Theater adjacent to Madison Square Garden.
From the opening bell, the two fighters cared little to none in trying to get to know the other. There would be no typical ‘feeling out’ period. Hardy (22-0, 4 KO’s) did her best to the use the ring as well as her jab, while Vincent (23-2, 1 KO) moved in with full force, over and over. The pace really picked up from the beginning of round three and up to this point, referee Harvey Dock wasn’t much more than the person with the best view of the action. More and more punches flew and by the end of the period, Heather had a small cut over her right eye. However, she appeared to hold the edge thus far due to her ability to tag Shelly as she moved in by way of well placed shots to the head and body. By the time the fifth was underway, Heather’s body shots were appearing to take greater effect.
Hardy’s four inch advantage in height as well as nearly three inches in reach served her well, as she was gaining ground in effectively picking off her Rhode Island opponent to an even further degree. With forty five total fights between the two of them, yet just five stoppage wins (one for Vincent, four for Hardy), the bout looked like it was likely heading for the scorecards, as was the case in their first bout just over two years ago. An accidental butting of heads in round seven opened a cut over Heather’s left eye just after she’d landed a nice right uppercut. Visibly, the pace was slowing, especially for Shelly Vincent in the eighth. As Hardy kept her distance, Vincent’s inward charges slowed more and more as they found less and less success. Unlike much of the previous rounds, “Shellito’s Way” started to moved back and not to the front.
In the ninth, “The Heat” Hardy was able to not only catch Shelly with her jab, but her uppercut as well. As the bout moved on to the tenth and final period, Heather looked to be in the fast lane to keeping her unbeaten record intact. They exchanged a quick tap of the gloves and moved on to the last two minutes. Vincent did what she could to try and salvage any chances she had left. There would be no knockout. The bell sounded and the judges appeared to have an easy call to make.
Glenn Feldman and Kevin Morgan each turned in tallies of 97-93, while Alan Rubinstein saw it at 99-91 to award the victory to the winner by unanimous decision and now the new WBO World Female Featherweight champion, Heather “The Heat” Hardy.
Additional Results from New York City
Patrick Day UD 10 Elvin Ayala - Super Welterweight
Radzhab Butaev KO 3 Azael Cosio - Super Welterweight
David Oliver Joyce UD 6 Jorge Rojas Zacazonteti - Lightweight
Bakhodir Jalolov TKO 4 Tyrell Wright - Heavyweight
Steven Donnelly UD 4 Ray Cervera - Super Welterweight
Reshat Mati UD 4 Juan Carlos Sepulveda - Welterweight