Serrano beats Hardy to take WBO women's featherweight title

Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yeleussinov waits in a neutral corner after knocking down Reshard Hicks during the first round of a welterweight boxing match Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in New York. Yeleussinov stopped Hicks in the first round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yeleussinov, left, punches Reshard Hicks during the first round of a featherweight boxing match Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in New York. Yeleussinov stopped Hicks in the first round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Amanda Serrano, right, punches Heather Hardy during the first round of a featherweight boxing match Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in New York. Serrano won the fight. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Michael Hunter, left, knocks down Russia's Sergey Kuzmin during the fifth round of a heavyweight boxing match Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in New York. Hunter won the fight. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Amanda Serrano, left, punches Heather Hardy during the first round of a boxing match Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in New York. Serrano won the fight. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK — Brooklyn was in the ring, and in the house.

Amanda Serrano outclassed Heather Hardy with a relentless attack to take away the WBO women's featherweight title and grab the WBC interim crown Friday night at a raucous Madison Square Garden theater.

They are two of America's best women boxers, though Serrano was born in Puerto Rico. Both represent the borough just across the East River from Madison Square Garden, and their fans filled the Garden's theater, creating a raucous atmosphere that would have fit for a Rangers game in the big arena.

"It was a great night," Serrano said, thanking her fans for their support after winning a unanimous decision.

"She is as tough as they come," Serrano added about Hardy, who looked done in the opening round. "She stayed for 10 rounds."

Ten pretty lopsided rounds. From the outset, when Serrano's hand speed, agility, power and relentless were on display, Hardy was off balance. She got her footing in the middle of bout, but never was a threat.

Serrano (37-1-1) won by scores of 98-91, 98-92 and 98-92 on the judges' cards. Hardy, her face reddened and bleeding by the second round, took her first loss in 23 fights.

The AP had it 98-91 for Serrano.

Serrano's followers easily had the most to cheer about as she rocked Hardy in the opening round and never backed off for nine more rounds.

"My corner told me to box and be smart," Serrano said.

Mission accomplished.

Next up was Devin Haney taking on Zaur Abdullaev in a WBC interim lightweight and WBC elimination bout because Haney is the mandatory challenger to Vasily Lomachenko.

Michael Hunter enhanced his status as a rising contender in the heavyweight division with a unanimous 12-round decision over Sergiy Kuzmin. Hunter decked Kuzmin with a sharp left hook in the fifth round and generally controlled matters even though his Russian opponent outweighed him by 37 pounds.

Hunter (18-1, 12 knockouts) could get a shot at one of the better-known heavyweights next time out, though a title shot isn't too close for the 31-year-old American. Kuzmin is 15-1.

The bouts were streamed on DAZN.

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