Terri Harper made good on her first world title opportunity today in Sheffield, outpointing long-reigning WBC junior lightweight Eva Wahlstrom over 10 rounds to take the belt in impressive fashion.
The 23-year-old Harper (10-0, 5 KO) started pretty strong, but the 39-year-old veteran Wahlstrom (23-2-2, 3 KO) did get back into things in the third through fifth rounds, making adjustments and making Harper well aware that this was not going to be easy.
And it wasn’t, but Harper then made her own adjustments, kept calm, and took over the fight down the stretch. Harper scored a knockdown in the seventh round, which Wahlstrom protested, but it didn’t wind up impacting the outcome. Scores were wide — 98-91, 99-90, and 99-90 for Harper, with BLH scoring it 97-92 for Harper.
“I had a lot of pressure on me for this,” Harper said. “I didn’t think I’d get to this point, if I’m honest. I just went back to my boxing and got my had right and listened to everything they had to say in the corner.”
“I’m speechless,” said trainer Stefy Bull. “I’m absolutely overwhelmed. She’s 23 years old. You don’t need a gold medal to be successful. We’ve started something that’s very, very special.”
Wahlstrom is now 1-2-1 in her last four outings, and 0-2-1 in her last three title fights, including a loss at lightweight to Katie Taylor in Dec. 2018. The Finnish fighter doesn’t look quite washed up, but time has taken some toll on her for sure, and she was simply beaten by a younger, fresher fighter, and one who knows her skill set very well. Harper should only get better for a while longer here, and may well be a legitimate rising star in women’s boxing.