For the first time in history two female British fighters will go toe-to-toe for a world title on August 8. Will Terri Harper successfully retain her WBC and IBO crowns and her unbeaten professional record, or can Jonas climb to the top of the of the women’s super-featherweight division?
Harper’s rise to the top of the super-featherweight division has been a swift one. After a successful, but brief, stint in the amateurs, the 23-year-old ‘Belter’ made the jump to the pros in late 2017 and has not looked back. In only her sixth fight she won the vacant WBC international lightweight title, and in just her eighth outing she claimed the vacant IBO super-featherweight belt to establish herself as a serious contender on the women’s scene. After making a successful defence of that crown in November of last year, beating Viviane Obenauf by decision, she signed on for the toughest bout of her career so far – a crack at WBC super-featherweight champion Eva Wahlstrom in February of this year.
The vastly-experienced Wahlstrom had suffered just one professional defeat in her career prior to that night – a 2018 decision defeat to Katie Taylor – so it would be no easy task for a 23-year-old fighter who had just nine professional bouts on her CV. Harper rose to the occasion though, starting strongly and dropping Wahlstrom in the seventh round of the bout in Sheffield. Wahlstrom was able to recover from the knockdown to hear the final bell, but the judges had seen more than enough to declare Harper the new WBC super-featherweight champion.
The sudden sporting shutdown in March put plans for Harper’s first defence on hold, but after months of waiting the talented Yorkshire lass will finally have an opportunity to defend her WBC and IBO titles, and she will do it against a fellow Brit in Natasha Jonas.
Jonas may be 36 years of age but she was a late arrival in the professional ranks and, as a result, she has only fought 10 times in the paid ranks, albeit with a fair degree of success. The Liverpudlian has a professional record 9-1 and will be well aware that her first crack at a world title is likely to be her last. She goes into the bought having won three straight, with her last two outings ending in fourth round and second round stoppages, but can she make it four-in-a-row by upsetting Harper at Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Camp?
Harper and Jonas have a couple of common opponents on their record. Harper needed less time, and less experience, to stop Bec Connolly and the two women boast very different results against Viviane Obenauf. Harper beat the Brazilian over 10 rounds to retain her titles in November of last year, while the sole defeat of Jonas’ career so far came in August 2018 when she was stopped inside four rounds by Obenauf.
This type of comparison can be misleading and in this case it is a little, but ultimately it does set you on the right path to picking a winner. Jonas is a talented operator who was overwhelmed by Obenauf’s relentless approach when she lost for the first and only time in her career so far, and that is not an approach we will see from Harper here. The world champion is a skilled fighter who will not go out all guns blazing. She will produced a measured and disciplined display over 10 rounds that does more than enough to earn the nod from the judges.