It was a historic match that may have went beyond expectations, and the result might have those that watched the fight wanting more.
Terri Harper and Natasha Jonas were the first two women from the United Kingdom to compete against each other for a world title, and both of them battled to the last bell. As a result, the ten round bout produced scores from the judges that made the result a split draw. Ian John Lewis had it 96-94 for Harper, John Latham scored it 96-95 for Jonas, and Mark Lyson called it down the middle with a 95-95 score. It was the first draw result for both fighters as Jonas now has a record of 9-1-1, and Harper is now 10-0-1 and still has the WBC and IBO super featherweight titles.
The action started early in the bout as both were aggressive in the first round. The 23-year-old champion wanted to get a jump on the southpaw fighter that was 13 years her senior, but Jonas fired back and may have gotten the advantage in that round. It got even more intense as Jonas did connect with a left hand midway through the second round, but suffered a cut above her right eye which at the time seemed to put Jonas in a pickle.
Both Harper and Jonas battled on the inside in the next two rounds but at a distance Harper was more active with the jab and stepped out of range when Jonas threw her jab. Jonas responded in the fifth round by scoring well with body shots and uppercuts when Harper was in close. The champion came back in the sixth with combinations that made Jonas have to reset her come-forward approach. It looked like Harper would be able to get the momentum after the seventh round, but Jonas landed with a two punch combination at the start of the eighth round that rocked Harper and made her fight off her back foot for the majority of the round.
The ninth round was also good for Jonas as she landed a right hook that may have buzzed Harper midway through the round. She continued her attack to the body as that had given her success through most of the fight. Both were able to give out the energy they had to finish off the final round, and both felt confident that they would leave the ring with a victory.
After the scorecards were announced, both were hurt that they were not announced the winner but embraced as they put on a great show for fight fans to enjoy. Harper thought that her activity at the start of the fight gave her an early lead, and that it would have made the difference in the cards.
“I think I won the early rounds…I was trying to stay on the outside,” Harper said. “I’m disappointed with my performance but that was only my 11th competition on the big stage. I went out there and I dug deep. This was a big learning fight for me.”
Jonas, who was looking to win her first world title fight, was crushed by the draw result as she felt that her body attack and effort in the last few rounds got her the win.
“I felt it was level going to the 8th, and then I won the 8th and 9th rounds pretty clearly,” Jonas remarked. “I thought I won the 10th, so I had myself one or two rounds ahead.”
Even though both were not happy with the result they did give credit to each other for the battle that took place.
“I want to thank Tasha for an excellent fight,” Harper said. “I knew she was a tough opponent but I didn’t expect her to come out like that! Massive respect.”
“It was history in the making and it was an honor to share it with Harper,” Jonas said, “All eyes were on women’s boxing and hopefully we made the public proud.”
Cover photo by Mark Robinson of Matchroom Boxing