Terri Harper in dreamland as she is unveiled as a Matchroom Boxing signing
World champion Terri Harper says her dreams are beginning to come true after being unveiled as Matchroom Boxing’s latest signing.
The Denaby Main fighter has penned a five fight deal with Britain’s highest profile promotion, which has an exclusive broadcast deal with Sky Sports.
And she will make the first defence of her IBO super featherweight title on her birthday on November 2 in Manchester – a card headlined by Irish superstar Katie Taylor’s bid to become a two-weight world champion.
The deal for Harper brings about the possibility of facing her now promotional stablemate Taylor in the future, while fights with former amateur standouts Natasha Jonas and Chantelle Cameron will be easy to make over the next year.
And the prospect of testing herself against the very best is on that excites the 22-year-old.
“It’s all a bit surreal at the minute to be honest,” she told the Free Press. “I’m just waiting for it to all sink in.
“We found the news out after I beat Nozipho Bell [to become IBO champion] and it’s not seemed real until now where we’re having contact with Matchroom.
“This is where it gets real for me.
“I’ve signed a five fight contract and they’ve mentioned some of the top names in female boxing.
“They’ve talked about Chantelle Cameron, Natasha Jonas and possibly eventually Katie Taylor is that ever happens.
“This is where I step up and start facing world level opponents.”
Harper admits just being talked about in the same breath as the likes of Cameron, Jonas and Taylor is a dream.
And, walking away from the sport after a highly promising junior amateur career, she says the exploits of those leading names was a major draw for her return in the professional ranks two years ago.
She said: “I’m really excited about all that. It’s what you dream of.
“A few years back. these were the girls that I was watching on TV.
“They are really what got me back into boxing.
“The thought that I could be sharing a ring with them much sooner than I thought, it’s pretty crazy to be honest.
“It’s good because women's boxing is on the rise and I think I came back at the right time.
“Katie Taylor is my idol and she’s one of the biggest names in female boxing.
“To be on the undercard of a Katie Taylor fight – just the thought of being able to say I’ve fought in the same ring as her – it’s amazing and dreams coming true really.”
Before any thoughts of facing such fighters, Harper must deal with the challenge of Viviane Obenauf on November 2.
The Brazilian hit headlines in Britain by claiming Jonas’ unbeaten record last August with a fourth round stoppage. She also faced Cameron and Taylor in the past.
Obenauf was beaten by reigning IBF super featherweight champion Maiva Hamadouche last December, retiring after five rounds and has also faced world champions Ewa Brodnicka.
“She’s been in some tough fights," Harper said.
“She beat Tasha with a KO and Katie Taylor beat her just on points. She lost to Brodnicka on a split decision, the world champion over in Poland.
“She’s here to fight and when I get the win it’s a good statement to come out with as a Matchroom fighter.
"If you're not beating these girls then I’m not going to be stepping up to the next level. It’s time to prove myself that I belong up there at the top.”
The long rumoured signing by Matchroom continues the incredible rise of Harper since she became South Yorkshire’s first female professional fighter less than two years ago.
In her fifth fight she made her live TV debut and won a first pro title in her sixth.
By her eighth fight in July she was a world champion after stopping the tough Nozipho Bell at Rotherham’s Magna Centre.
And in her ninth, the 22-year-old she will be firmly in the spotlight on the Taylor undercard.