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Natasha Jonas draws WBC title fight with Terri Harper

Natasha Jonas and Terri Harper
Natasha Jonas almost dethrones Terri Harper, but a split draw sees the champion retain the WBC super-featherweight title

AFTER a superb 10 rounds, Terri Harper and Natasha Jonas’ WBC super-featherweight world title fight ended in a split draw on Friday night (August 7) at Matchroom’s HQ in Brentwood.

The first all-British women’s world title fight lived up to the occasion. Jonas, a skilled 2012 Olympian, started well, taking the centre of the ring and occupying Harper with her southpaw jab. But it was her left cross that scored heavily, landing to the body with some heft.

But Harper opened up a bad cut alongside Jonas’ right eye. Denaby’s Harper powered forward, chopping at Jonas with a high volume of punches. The weight of those attacks seemed to tire Jonas as the two fought their way into the second half of the bout.

But Jonas broke through in the eighth round, a straight one-two set up a shuddering right hook. Harper was badly shaken but she held on to her footing. Liverpool’s Jonas connected with the cleaner, heavier shots but Harper dug in as she battled back on to the front foot.

The judges did not find a winner. Ian John-Lewis scored 96-94 for Harper, John Lathem 96-95 for Jonas and Mark Lyson scored 95-95. The split draw means Harper retains her WBC super-featherweight title.

On the undercard Anthony Fowler handed Adam Harper a sustained beating, which referee Ian John-Lewis halted it at 1-34 of the seventh but it should have stopped two rounds earlier. In the fourth round Fowler stunned Harper, a double jab setting up an excellent right cross. He hammered Harper along the ropes, the damage clear. Harper appealed for another round but it was a request that should not have been granted.

Liverpool’s Fowler, in his second bout with new trainer Shane McGuigan, looked relaxed, particularly sharp in the opening two rounds here. He held his lead left low and loose, but quick, hard jabs thumped into Harper throughout the early going.

His attacks to the body seemed to drift low, certainly to referee John-Lewis who deducted a point in the second round and sternly warned Fowler after giving Tewkesbury’s Harper another break to recover from a low blow in the sixth round. But that aside, Fowler had performed well.

Bournemouth’s Chris Billam-Smith defended his Commonwealth cruiserweight title with fearsome power. Before the first round was out, chopping left hooks, virtually from within a clinch, saw Nathan Thorley sink to the canvas. Heavy rights forced Thorley down again in the second round. The Welshman recovered himself momentarily, slugging Billam-Smith with a one-two. He fired back but Billam-Smith unleashed a vicious curving right to floor Thorley. Badly hurt, Thorley had to be stopped by referee Mark Lyson at 2-05 of the second.

Johnny Philips charged headlong into Leeds prospect Hopey Price, but piled into clinches rather than landing with any great effect. Opening space up between them, Price drilled him with long combinations and took a 60-54 points win for referee Ian John-Lewis after six rounds.

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