Harper Retains Her Title After A Fire-Fight With Jonas Ends in a Draw

ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM (August 7, 2020) — Matchroom Boxing and its managing director Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp series rolled into its second week featuring an all-English Super Featherweight championship fight between undefeated WBC titheholder Terri Harper and southpaw Natasha Jonas. The showdown marked a first for women’s boxing the United Kingdom. In the co-feature bout Anthony Fowler looked to maintain his steady improvement efforts versus a durable Adam Harper.

Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KOs) executed her game plan brilliantly to open the bout against the taller Harper (10-0-1, 5 KOs). Harper flicked her jab primarily. Jonas connected with a couple of right-left combinations to Harper’s body. The action was back-and-forth in the second, but the competitiveness was marred by a clash of heads that left Jonas with a cut above her right eye.

Terri Harper vs Natasha Jonas, WBC and IBO World Super Featherweight Title. Picture By Mark Robinson/MATCHROOM BOXING

The champion landed the bigger shots in the third frame, as Jonas’ sharpness faltered in a few spots. Harper pressed forward in short bursts at the right moment. Jonas was better prepared for the tactic in the fourth.

The fifth round exploded early, as both fighters stood in the center of the ring exchanging shots. Harper pressed inside to work guard-to-guard. She got the better of it early, but Jonas adjusted and punched inside of Harper’s punches. The action contained hooks from both, and then they each switched to uppercuts. This was another close round.

Jonas struck first in the sixth round with a long left hand from distance. Harper responded with a fully extended right hand of her own. Harper closed the distance again where more in-fighting ensued, but Jonas had to work with her back against the ropes some more.

Harper’s work-rate served her well throughout the seventh round. As the taller fighter, the champion excelled when she forced the 36-year old southpaw against the ropes and threw flurries.

Jonas finally timed the champion coming in, and hurt Harper, with a surprising right hook, in the first 15 seconds of round eight. Harper’s head was a bit high after being blinded by a left hook first. The champion buckled and spent the rest of the first minute regrouping. The champion recovered and started pushing the challenger backwards to close out another hard-fought round.

Another Jonas right hook landed to Harper’s chin in the first half of round nine. A Jonas left hook rocked Harper in the second minute.

Harper stepped to Jonas to open the 10th and final round. Jonas started slower before attacking the body first, and then looking to rip shots up the middle of Harper’s guard. The balance of the round included a series of fierce exchanges from both fighters. To start the round, very little appeared to separate the two combatants. And, by round’s end, as Harper’s energy faltered somewhat, Jonas responded and seemingly narrowed the margin with her inside work.

Unfortunately for fight fans, the clash of styles and extremely balanced action left the belt in possession of Harper with scores of 96-94, 95-96, and 95-95 for a split draw. Both women congratulated each other on a terrific effort, and each thought they edged out a win, but in light of the draw each expressed their willingness to fight a rematch.

Terri Harper vs Natasha Jonas, WBC and IBO World Super Featherweight Title.
The fighters embrace after the split decision was announced. Picture By Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

One-loss Fowler earned his 13th victory in dominant fashion. Harper courageously extended the fight into the seventh round before referee Ian Lewis stepped in to save him from himself. Fowler set the tone for his 10th KO with a hot start over the first two rounds. Harper had his moments in the third round, but he took more damage for minimal success. Over the next four rounds this trend worsened and Harper’s output declined until he could no longer defend himself altogether. The stoppage became Fowler’s second in a row.

Fowler spent the balance of 2019 in rebuild mode following his first loss against Scott Fitzgerald in March 2019. The 29-year old rebounded with two wins before the end of the year, and stopped Theophilus Tetteh in March prior to Covid-19 shutting down sports globally. He opened the first frame of this match-up dominating Adam Harper (9-2). Fowler established a solid jab first, and quickly began launching powerful hooks. His lowered left hand allowed him to throw it from a variety of angles, and indicated his comfort in dealing with the output Harper tried to muster. A few early low blows negated Fowler’s hot start, as he received a point deduction for errant punch in round two.

Anthony Fowler vs Adam Harper, Super Welterweight contest. Picture By Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing 

Harper fought with a cut in the corner of his right eye in round two which made matters difficult with Fowler finding his rhythm so quickly. Fowler continued to fight with confidence into round three, but Harper stood in and attempted to slow things down with his double and triple jab.

The action grew more one-sided in round four as Fowler followed up a double jab with a sharp one that finished with a booming right hand. The shot dropped Harper immediately and settled on one knee with blood flowing from the bridge of his nose. The 32-year old beat the count and barely survived the round, as Fowler attacked to the bell. In the subsequent round, Harper fought on under constant duress. He continued to stand during the breaks in between rounds.

The sixth round opened with the action occurring in the center of the ring. Fowler’s punishing shots appeared to challenge Harper’s mettle with each connect. Fowler bullied his way forward to land a wide-arcing left hook to Harper’s head, but a follow-up shot strayed low again, and the action stopped to allow Harper to recover. Somehow the fight moved into round seven.

Harper fought out of survival while escaping repeated attempts by Fowler to close the show. After a successful first minute, Fowler’s abandoned the craftier tactics and landed another 1-2 combination finished by another straight right hand that snapped Harper’s head. After seeing enough, the referee stepped between the fighters to shield Harper from any further damaging, ending the fight at 1:34.

All images by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing 

RL Woodson

I'm all over the place, literally. Click on something and I'll explain it all. A Tribe Called Quest fan, Good Will Hunting, HTTR and Michigan athletics... #DLTCYO

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