Heather Hardy Wins WBO Women's Featherweight Title

After being one of New York's most popular female boxers for years, Heather Hardy is now a world champion.

In a rare instance of women's boxing being shown on HBO, Hardy defeated Shelly Vincent by unanimous decision (97-93, 97-93, 99-91) to win the vacant WBO women's featherweight title. The fight was the televised opening bout of HBO's October 27 broadcast from Madison Square Garden.

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The two had previously fought in 2016 with the WBC International women's featherweight title on the line. Hardy won that fight, considered to be one of the best women's boxing fights of 2016, but the first victory for Hardy was by majority decision.

The rematch wasn't as competitive as the first encounter, mainly because Hardy outboxed Vincent throughout most of the fight. Hardy spent some time working the body and connecting with the uppercut, which seemed to have troubled Vincent. 

In terms of power punches, Hardy landed 206 of 622 total punches (33 percent) while Vincent landed 148 of 683 of her total punches (22 percent). Hardy and Vincent landed a similar number of power punches 154 and 148, respectively, but Hardy was far more accurate. Hardy landed 44 percent of her power punches while Vincent only landed 22 percent.

The fight was originally never planned to be a part of the HBO telecast, but a strong effort by Hardy, who pleaded with HBO to broadcast the fight, made sure the two women got their chance to be on the network. It was the second-ever women's boxing fight to air live on HBO with the first one being Cecilia Braekhus' undisputed welterweight title defense against Kali Reis on May 5.

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