Terri Harper retained her WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight World Titles with a thrilling split decision draw against Natasha Jonas in the main event at Matchroom Fight Camp.
‘Miss GB’ hurt 23-year-old Harper in the eighth round with a left-right combination and looked on the brink of winning a first World Title at the age of 36.
At the end of a thrilling back and forth contest, the judges scored it 96-94 for Harper, 96-95 for Jonas and 95-95.
“I know I hurt her,” said Harper. “She hurt me a few times. I’m disappointed by my performance but that was only my 11th competition on the big stage. That was a big learning fight for me. I felt it, I felt my legs go, I sucked it up and dug deep for the last two rounds. I knew she was a tough opponent but I didn’t expect her to come out like that! Massive respect. Tasha is someone I looked up to. I could tell the class she had. Maybe I underestimated her a bit.”
In a battle that showed women’s boxing at its finest, Liverpool’s Jonas suffered a nasty cut early on but quickly found her composure and began to trouble Harper.
“I won the eighth clearly,” said Jonas. “I thought I won the ninth and tenth. It was close. I had myself one or two up. History in the making and it was an honour to share them. She made some statements which I had to prove wrong, to her but to myself as well. All eyes were on women’s boxing and hopefully we made the public proud. One million percent I’d do that again!”
It was the first time that two British women had competed against each other for a Word Title, and the all-action fight more than lived up to the occasion.
“Jonas was brilliant,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Nobody gave her a chance! Everyone was high on Terri and rightly so. I scored it a draw. But if anyone was going to get the decision it would be Jonas. We have to see that fight again. I know we are talking about unifications and mandatories but you have to do that again. Jonas deserves another shot at the world title. Jonas was hurt in the second. Harper was buzzed in the eighth. Unbelievable to watch.”