Harper ‘capable of conquering the world’
She may be only seven fights into her professional career but Terri Harper is more than ready to prove herself as being world class.
That is the verdict of manager Stefy Bull who has secured the Denaby Main fighter her first tilt at world honours.
Harper will fight for the IBO super featherweight title at Rotherham's Magna Centre on July 19, taking on Nozipho Bell of South Africa.
Such an acceleration of the 22-year-old's career progression was unexpected for all involved, including Bull.
But he feels she has proven herself capable of making the considerable step up.
"The plan was that she'd get into double figures with learning fights and picking up the experience she missed out on in the amateurs," Bull said.
"But women's boxing has a completely different landscape than men's and big opportunities are going to arise much quicker.
"You have to be capable of taking them though. It's not just a case of having a few fights and then jumping up to world level. You have to earn it and prove it.
"And I think Terri has. She's been through some tough tests already and she's come through them very well.
"There's no doubt this is the biggest step up for her so far but we're confident that she'll rise to the occasion."
Bull believes Harper's ability to learn and put into practice what she is taught has been key to her rapid progression.
She followed up victory over Nina Bradley for the WBC International lightweight title in March with a superb stoppage of Claudia Lopez, live on Sky Sports last month.
Her future looks set to see her fighting under the Matchroom Boxing banner on Sky on a regular basis.
But for now Bull is happy for her to continue her quest for global honours on the so-called 'small hall' format.
He said: "This is a huge show for me and I have a lot of pride in being able to promote a world title fight. I never thought I'd end up promoting a British title fight, nevermind a world title.
"You have to take these opportunities when they come and Terri is genuinely willing to fight anyone.
"Give her a list of options and she'll always pick the toughest one because she wants to test herself and she also wants to make sure she gives her fans value for money.
"I know people will look at the IBO title and say it doesn't have the prestige of the WBA, IBF, WBO or the WBC titles.
"But this title leads to others. And the IBO belt has been good enough for the likes of Anthony Joshua and Ricky Hatton. Try telling someone who has won one that it's not a proper world title.
"This is a huge opportunity for Terri and will open the door for so many big fights in the future.
He added: "Terri is fantastic to work with. Of all the fighters I have worked with over the years, she could be the most talented.
"A big thing from her is the composure she shows, Nothing fazes her.
"Speaking to fighters in the changing room beforehand, you're talking them through stuff and it's not going in.
"With Terri, she soaks everything in like a sponge and then goes out and does the business.
"She's dealt with all the challenges that have come her way - and she's had some tough challenges.
"Her last few fights have all been big tests. Nina Bradley was a massive step up and [Claudia] Lopez was a two time world champion.
"But Terri dealt with those so well."
Harper had been scheduled to face Bukiwe Nonina for the IBO title but the South African was withdrawn from the bout and replaced with her compatriot Bell.
Given the company Bell has kept in the past, it is arguably a tougher contest for Harper.
Bell has nine wins from 12 bouts and was controversially edged out on points by WBO super featherweight champion Ewa Brodnicka in October.
"This is a tough fight for Terri," Bull said.
"Bell is a typical African fighter - she swings in big shots to the head and body.
"There will be shots flying in from all angles so Terri has really got to be on it.
"It'll be a big test for her and I think it'll be a big indication of where Terri is at this stage of her career."
Woodlands fighter Jason Cunningham will also be on the bill on July 19.
Tickets for the fight night are on sale now with prices ranging from £45 to £100 by calling 07852 750889.