Brilliant Terri Harper wins WBC title with stunning performance against Eva Wahlstrom

A star is born. Scratch that - a superstar is born.

Saturday, 8th February 2020, 10:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 10:16 am
Terri Harper clutches the WBC super featherweight title after her brilliant win over Eva Wahlstrom. Picture: Mark Robinson

Terri Harper claimed the WBC super featherweight title with a dominant performance that not only justified the hype she has quickly built but will only take it to another strastosphere.

It was a performance at Sheffield Arena that had almost everything - skill, slickness, guts, a few hairy moments, spite and genuine quality.

The stoppage was the only thing missing, but the fact she threatened to end it early on several occasions against a fighter that held the WBC title for five years says plenty.

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Eva Wahlstrom had lost once previously. Against the leading light of the female ranks Katie Taylor.

She may well have just lost to someone whose star will outshine even that of Taylor in the coming years.

The work done by Harper and trainer and mentor Stefy Bull in a little more than the two years since she became South Yorkshire's first female pro has been remarkable. And it shows no signs of slowing after adding the WBC title to her IBO crown.

It was a tentative opening minute or so from Harper who allowed Wahlstrom to settle in the middle of the ring.

But she began to look increasingly comfortable once she let her hands go, following up jabs with a second.

Veteran Wahlstrom was canny enough to invite Harper to do the work.

She would regret it as Harper brought her in close and fired away with short sharp shots that the Finnish fighter clearly did not like.

Harper was caught with a right hand square to the face but looked largely unfazed.

That big right shot was Wahlstrom's ticket in however and she lit a fire of aggression in Harper with one in the third round.

She unleashed a string of shots but recklessly left herself wide open doing so and it momentarily stopped being her fight.

When she stuck to the clean stuff, the sharp jabs and slick follow-ups, she looked in control and the fourth was fought with real patience and a good deal of control.

Her head momvement in the fifth was excellent, seeing her slip shots from Wahlstrom and deal with pressure really well for the majority of the round.

Wahlstrom consistently showed her the wiliness of a veteran as she invited Harper in and tried to make it a more scruffy affair before swinging in a big shot.

The Finnish fighter also showed the scars of battle at the end of the sixth with a ut on the side of her head.

Harper scored a knockdown in the seventh with straight right hand that was time with as much good fortune as skill. Wahlstrom was backpedalling and as the shot caught her flush, it put her onto the canvas with the count coming despite her protestations.

There was almost another at the end of the eight - with little doubt over how it came.

Harper scored a wonderful left hook to the jaw that sent Wahlstrom staggering back. Harper powered on, landing several big shots only for the untimely sound of the bell.

Wahlstrom was struggling to deal with the accuracy of Harper's lead right hand through the ninth as the bout became one-way traffic.

Confidence oozed from Harper in the final round - one where she could easily have coasted through but seemed determined to chase the biggest of statement stoppages.

It did not come but the comfort in which she saw out the fight against an already beaten Wahlstrom was excellent.

The scorecard read 98-91 and 99-90 (twice). Tears filled the eyes of Harper, her supporters and Bull.

Next stop, the world.