Supporting bouts in Sheffield prove quality as Terri Harper dethrones Eva Wahlstrom and Kid Galahad dismantles Claudio Marrero
Female boxing is going from strength to strength in the UK and, at 23, Denaby’s Terri Harper is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this trend, especially after capturing the WBC super-featherweight title from accomplished Finn Eva Wahlstrom at Sheffield Arena. She took a unanimous decision with scores of 99-90 (twice) and 98-91.
Wahlstrom, a veteran at 39, had lost only to Katie Taylor – a Harper idol and now target – up at 135lbs, but had also never won outside her home nation.
Both began tentatively, always a risk in a 10-twos, but rangy, mobile Harper soon established her solid jab and proved busier in the early rounds. Wahlstrom stepped it up in the third, landing a nice right hand followed by a left hook. A looping right in the next also found Harper’s jaw. Terri relied on straight shots, bouncing in and out, rarely allowing Wahlstrom to get set. That said, it could have been 3-2 either way after five rounds, Harper dictating at times but Wahlstrom countering well.
In what could have been a pivotal moment in a tight contest, Harper scored a knockdown in round seven with a grazing right hands that caught Wahlstrom square and off balance. Terri continued in the ascendancy, having the Finn in trouble at the end of the eighth and generally staying a step ahead until the final bell.
I recall an ongoing narrative in the build-up to Kid Galahad’s mandatory IBF title shot at Josh Warrington last June, speculating the challenger – real name Barry Awad – would be unlikely to secure another opportunity at a world championship should he lose. That theory, based on his lack of a large fanbase or a fan-friendly style, was quickly debunked. The IBF, feeling Galahad’s decision reverse against Warrington, his only professional loss, was sufficiently debatable and, almost certainly lobbied by Matchroom, mandated a final eliminator for the same belt, between the Sheffield Kid and big-punching Dominican Republic southpaw Claudio Marrero.
Mobile Galahad outmanoeuvred his opponent in the first but the second was significantly closer. Long-armed Marrero tried to back Galahad up, but the Qatar-born Brit, who switched stances, employed deft lateral movement and picked his punches effectively. By the fifth he was bullying Marrero, and certainly outworking him. Marrero looked befuddled and disheartened and failed to sufficiently use his sharp right jab. His nose was bloodied in the seventh, and Claudio was punished to the body in the following round.
At the end of the eighth, a mile behind and busted up, Marrero was mercifully withdrawn by his corner. Galahad will now once again be the mandatory challenger to the IBF title after what may well have been a career-best performance.