A learning curve for Terri Harper - but a bigger one for her gym mates

Terri Harper
Terri Harper

Life as a professional boxer may all be new for Terri Harper but it is her gym mates who have had to make the biggest adjustment.

The Denaby Main fighter has settled comfortably into the stable of fighters at Stefy Bull’s gym, ahead of her professional debut on Saturday night at The Dome.

But sparring a female fighter has been somewhat of a culture shock for some of the other boxers in camp.

“It’s been funny with some of the lads,” Bull said.

“Ross Blackwell, because Terri is a girl, it’s as though he doesn’t know what to do.

“When he hits her, he giggles.

“When she got in with Muma Mweemba he was just tapping away at her. I had to tell him he could hit Terri properly and then he just smashed her with this big body shot which took her by surprise.

“I think the lads have had more trouble than Terri but they’ve been great with her from the start.

“The best has been Curtis Woodhouse [former British welterweight champion].

“He gets it bang on. He hits her hard enough and he’s coaching her all the time while he’s in there.”

Harper is set to make her debut at light welterweight against Poland’s Monika Antonik on Saturday.

Sparring with men is a necessity Bull says because finding female training partners is no simple task.

He said: “Because Terri will have a bit of a buzz about her, being South Yorkshire’s first female pro, girls would want to come and try to fill her in.

“I don’t want Terri to be disheartened by an amateur coming in and maybe getting on top.

“She shouldn’t be down on herself about what she should be doing against someone.

“I don’t want her to spar with other British pros because they’re potential opponents if they’re around her weight.

“At the minute she’s getting enough with the level of opposition I’m looking to match her with. She’s definitely getting enough in this gym.

“I don’t want to take her to a Katie Taylor [WBA lightweight champion] because I want to her to be confident. I don’t want her to have a really hard spar.

“She’s not negative but she’ll have these little moments where she’s really hard on herself.

“I have to say remember that Curtis Woodhouse was British champion.

“I’ve got to get the balance right.”

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