Brilliant Terri Harper celebrates birthday with superb defence of her world title
Birthday girl Terri Harper celebrated with a punch perfect performance as she successfully defended her world title in Manchester.
The Denaby Main fighter dealt with the relentless and tough Viviane Obenauf in superb style for a comfortable victory on her first outing under the Matchroom Boxing banner.
Scorecards of 99-91, 99-92 and 97-93 hardly told the story of a dominant performance from classy Harper, who threatened a stoppage on several occasions early in the bout.
But with Obenauf proving resilient, she demonstrated superb maturity to stick to the gameplan and mark her 23rd birthday in the ideal fashion as she held onto her IBO super featherweight crown.
Harper established the jab quickly, finding a good rhythm that saw her pierce the guard of Obenauf regularly.
She timed her opportunities well, slipping a left hook in very well as a counter punch and showing excellent head and foot movement to dodge what was coming back.
A stoppage looked likely when Obenauf walked straight onto a stiff jab early in the second that stunned her, with Harper following up with a solid left hook.
Harper then rocked her Brazilian opponent with a big right hand after a slipping under a jab and by the end of the round Obenauf was beginning to mark up.
It made the away fighter more tentative in the early stages of the third and allowed Harper to settle in with her jab to dominate the centre of the ring.
In a bid to change the flow of the contest, Obenauf came out wild at the start of the next few rounds but Harper dealt with it superbly, staying out of trouble in the main and maintaining an excellent composure.
It looked to be taking its toll on Obenauf who was tired by the end of the fourth and aggressively bumped shoulders with Harper as she returned to her corner at the end of the round.
The rough approach was not fazing Harper who looked confident and focused throughout, rarely dipping in her performance levels despite the obvious comfortable margin.
Obenauf looked for the big shots but struggled to find them and discovered plenty coming back the other way on the counter. Harper finished the round strongly with a barrage of shots in the corner.
Obenauf looked in big trouble after an accidental clash of heads brought swelling under her left eye. And Harper pounced after the brief respite with a wonderful left hook followed by a superb one-two.
But to the credit of Switzerland-based Obenauf, she pressed on regardless, pushing in vain for a way into the contest.
Obenauf landed a good right hand in the ninth but Harper reamined in full control to see out the fight in relative comfort.