(Photo Courtesy Bellator)
The Bellator featherweight division is still developing, and needs new title contenders.
Australia’s Janay Harding is looking to get over .500 and get back on the winning track when she faces Irish striker Sinead Kavanagh Friday night in Uncasville, Connecticut. The match will stream on Bellator.com.
Harding is no stranger to boxers. She is coming off a decision loss only a month ago in the sweet science and was more than ready to go straight into a MMA camp. She trains striking out of Legends in Sydney, and is doing her main MMA training out of Australian Top Team.
“(Boxing) is something I enjoy doing,” Harding admitted to us. ‘It keeps me active and I get some money between MMA camps. It also gives me something to strive for and some goals. It keeps me from blowing up in weight. It keeps me motivated. It helps to just throw hands and not worry about anything else, and specifically work on boxing.”
Coming off a loss to Amber Leibrock, Harding has stated she shook off the mental jitters that were a part of being in such a big event in her Bellator debut and is more mentally prepared in her second fight. Besides the mental, she is looking to physically control the fight.
“I have to play my game and not be sucked into her game,” Harding expressed. “Don’t try to out box a boxer. I just need to strike in a way to offset her…I don’t think she will change much. She has a lot of confidence in those hands. She has a lot of knockout power in them.”
With a win, Harding would put herself back in the mix at featherweight, which has yet to see a solid contender. With Blenclowe still likely the number 1 contender, being 0-2 against the champ Julia Budd isn’t helping her case. Harding hopes to get some fresh talent to beef up the division.
Speaking of growth, Harding is seeing a community of female fighters in Australia that are starting to organize through social media, and keep the scene going. this is encourage to Harding, as she didn’t have the hope of making fighting a career.
“For me the very first time when I started, you couldn’t see a massive future in earning the money Ronda Rousey was earning. You could possibly follow in the footsteps of Julie Kedzie and Gina Carano. Now as I slowly progress and develop, I can see people like Arlene (Blenclow), Jessy (Clark), Faith Van Duin, and Megan (Anderson) compete internationally and really make a living out of this sport.”
Harding is hoping Bellator expands to Australia soon, and sees talent both male and female that could see out an arena down under.