By Chris Murray
For the CM Report and the Sunday Sun
When rising world lightweight contender and current North American Boxing Federation title holder Henry “Hammering Hank” Lundy steps into the ring, it’s not all about the belts, the money, the TV cameras, or the foxy ladies.
Like most of the great names in the legendary history of Philadelphia boxing, Lundy knows that when you step in that ring it’s a matter of life and death. When you come in on those terms, there has to be a deeper cause to fight for other than just the fleeting hype of fame and large entourages.
Growing up in some of the toughest neighborhoods in South Philadelphia where he came close to getting caught up in the cycle of crime and violence, Lundy said he wants a better place for his children.
“That’s the key thing with me,” Lundy said. “My four little girls, my stepson and my fiancée, It’s all about family. You know I never want my daughters to grow up the way that I did, on the streets and growing up in the hood. My goal is to find a way for them to make a better living and if I have to go in there and rumble, take every drop I got in my body and lay it down in the ring for my kids that’s what I’m going to do.”
As World Boxing Council No.1-ranked contender in the lightweight division, Lundy has certainly been true to his word. He has 22 wins with one loss and 11 knockouts and his reputation in the boxing world is steadily growing, especially with his last appearance on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Lundy will be on the national stage this weekend when he takes on Raymundo Beltran at the Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
The fight, scheduled for 10 rounds, will also be televised on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Lundy is no stranger to fighting on national television. His last fight, a unanimous decision over Dannie Williams, was also on ESPN.
If there’s anything you will learn from watching Lundy’s fights is that he is your prototypical tough-guy Philly fighter. He may take an opponent’s punch, but he’s going to land a few hard shots, too. In the first round of his fight against Williams, Lundy took a hard right to the temple and found himself on the canvas.
“When he landed that punch, I went down, it stunned me, caught me on the top of my head,” Lundy said. “But at the end of the day, I’ve been through this before. Now let’s see if you withstand the pain that you’re about to go through. Like I told him, I’m going to take you to hell and back and I took him to hell and back.”
After being knocked on his rear end, Lundy went on to dominated the next nine rounds to win a unanimous decision. Lundy’s trainer, Sloan Harrison said Lundy didn’t allow the knockdown to rattle him or throw him off his game and it made him fight even harder.
“Some of them freeze when they get knocked down, but he (Lundy) don’t freeze because he got heart and wants to get up and continue,” Harrison said. “A lot of guys get hurt and they can’t deal with that. He can.”
Lundy’s mettle was tested in a loss to John Molina back in 2011 when he was stopped by way of an 11th round technical knockout.
In that fight, Lundy was in control of the fight for the seven rounds, but he was apparently suffering from some form of virus that caused him to vomit several times before the fight. Lundy’s promoter asked him if he wanted to go on with the fight 15 minutes before the bout.
“I said,’I look I got kids, I gotta go out there and fight,” Lundy said. “I handled my business. But in the second round I told my trainer I had no more left in me.”
Lundy, weakened by his sickness, tried to do so showboating and got knocked down by Molina in the eighth round. The referees eventually stopped the fight in 11th when Lundy couldn’t answer a barrage of Molina’s punches.
But Harrison said the 28-year-old Lundy showed a lot of heart despite the loss. Before the stoppage, Lundy was winning the fight on all three of the judges scorecards.
“He was done and for him to actually win the fight on the cards in the condition that he was in, can you imagine having to go to the bathroom and having to fight through all that?,” Harrison said. “That’s what he did. That fight showed me the determination and everything a fighter should be that fight showed me that.”
But Lundy is used to having fight through odds as an athlete. As a student at John Bartram High School, Lundy was the smallest player on the school’s football team He was so good that he was offered a partial scholarship to Kutztown University, but declined the offer when his aunt couldn’t send both he and his sister to college.
Lundy said he uses the skills he attained as a football player in the ring. As a high school player, he played running back, cornerback, linebacker and kick returner. He said he never came off the field in a manner that would make Eagles great Chuck Bednarik proud.
“I carry everything that I learned from my football experience into the ring ,” said Lundy, who had over 60 amateur fights before turning pro. “The foot work…When I see a punch I explode to it like a running back would do when he sees the opening to a hole. I gotta lot of tricks up my sleeve that the average boxer doesn’t have.”
In the ring, Lundy likes to go to the body and has power in both hands. Perhaps one of his big trademarks is ability to fight both orthodox and southpaw styles. In the orthodox style, Lundy has a stiff left jab, but has the ability to throw the left hook off the jab. In the southpaw stance, he throws a mean left hook.
“There’s all kinds of things he can do as a southpaw,” Harrison said. “You don’t have to move to your right.. It all depends on his opponent. (Lundy) can do anything.”
Lundy said he considers himself to be a versatile fighter who can bang with anybody and outbox anyone in front of him.
“I’ m a boxer first and foremost but at the end of the day, sometimes you have to bang a guy and let him know, I’m not going nowhere,” Lundy said. “If you want to bang, we can bang, if you want to box we can do that. I’m not one-dimensional in there and that’s why I break a lot of fighters down. I can do it all.”
With his exposure in media venues like ESPN, Harrison said the most obvious step for Lundy is to fight for a world title. He said his young fighter is ready. Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco is the current WBC lightweight champion.
“That’s next, he’s no. 1 in the WBC,” Harrison said. “That’s next in line”
Winning a world title for Lundy will be more than the just hoisting up a belt, it will mean peace and prosperity for his family, especially for his mother, Kimberly who spent time in the hospital during his youth for schizophrenia and his Aunt Denise Bennett who took him and sister in when things got rough.
For Lundy, it all goes back to family.
“Mom is getting things together, but what I’m trying to do is get her to move in with me in my condo on the waterfront,” Lundy said. “I told her you took care when I was a pain in your behind. Now let me take care of you so you can be a pain in my behind by spending all this money. That’s what I’m trying to do make a better living for her.”