‘Belter’ predicts stoppage win over Wahlstrom in Sheffield
Terri Harper is targeting a life-changing win over Eva Wahlstrom at the FlyDSA Arena on Saturday February 8 when they clash in a huge unification battle for the IBO and WBC Super-Featherweight World Titles, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Harper (9-0, 5 KOs) got off to a flying start under the Matchroom Boxing banner with a polished performance to outpoint tough Brazilian Viviane Obenauf in the first defence of her IBO crown on her 23rd birthday in November.
‘Belter’ admits the pressure she felt to perform on her big Matchroom debut may have caused her to play it safe at Manchester Arena but the undefeated Denaby star, South Yorkshire’s first female professional boxer, has promised to take it to her opponent next month.
“Watching the Obenauf fight back I feel I held back a bit,” said Harper. “I had a lot of pressure on me to perform on my Matchroom debut and maybe played it a bit too safe. In this fight I feel I will be more adventurous, I know what Eva is going to bring and I will go out there and show my ability. I’m ready to show everyone what I can do.
“One of the main changes is that we have been sparring straight away, getting lots of rounds in with different girls and training twice a day alongside Anthony Tomlinson who is also on the bill. I have my feet through the door now and I am ready for February 8, a date I will hopefully come home as WBC World Champion.” Wahlstrom (23-1-2, 3 KOs), a pro since 2010 and who has only lost to Irish sensation Katie Taylor, promises to be a career-defining fight for Harper. The Finnish 39-year-old has held the WBC title since 2015, making fives defences of the green and gold belt during her reign.
Guided by Stefy Bull from his gym in Doncaster, Harper has passed every test of her career with flying colours since turning professional in 2017 following a successful stint in the amateurs and the 23-year-old believes she has what it takes to overcome Wahlstrom in a clash of youth versus experience.
“Eva is a solid opponent who has shared the ring with some great female boxers over a long career. She has more experience than me but she is nearly 40 and I feel it is my time now, to take the baton and get the win. I feel like I have long range and won’t get dragged into a brawl. We have seen that she is open to that back hand so that is what we have been working with in the gym, I want to get back on my knockout streak! “It’s a 50:50 fight but I feel like I have got youth on my side. I am so hungry to win this and have prepared for the best version of Eva Wahlstrom possible. I have put 110% into this camp because I know that if I prepare correctly that I can change my life on February 8. I have dreams of boxing in America and I see that as the next goal for me after winning this WBC title. “All I see in this fight is me being dominant with my jab and then stopping her with my back hand, I just feel like it’s something she will not be able to deal with. I feel my fitness will come through and the fight will be over in the mid to late rounds.” Harper vs. Wahlstrom is part of a huge night of action in Sheffield.
Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) will be aiming to shake off the ring rust and fire his name back into the mix for a Word Title shot in 2020 when he meets the USA’s Mark DeLuca (24-1, 13 KOs), Kid Galahad (26-1, 15 KOs) takes on Claudio Marrero (24-3, 17 KOs) in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Featherweight crown, AnthonyTomlinson (11-0, 6 KOs) takes on Stewart Burt (13-1-1, 1 KO) in a Eliminator for the British and Commonwealth Welterweight titles, Dave Allen (17-5-2, 14 KOs) makes his long-awaited return after eight months out of the ring, Brentwood Super-Featherweight Martin Joseph Ward (23-1-2, 11 KOs) returns, Sheffield Super-Featherweight prospect Donte Dixon (2-0, 1 KO) returns, Super-Middleweight John Docherty (7-0, 5 KO) continues his march towards a first title, Leeds Featherweight Hopey Price (2-0, 1 KO) looks to go 3-0 and Sheffield Light-Heavyweight Callum Beardow (1-0) fights for the second time as a pro.
“Good afternoon everyone. Welcome. I think this is the first one of 2020. 2019 seems to have passed us by and a great great year of boxing in Britain, in America, of course finishing with that wonderful event in Saudi Arabia where Anthony Joshua reclaimed the unified World Heavyweight Championship, one in Dallas for Jacobs vs. Chavez Jr. Next week we kick everything off, live on Sky Sports and live on DAZN, in Miami with a huge card, Super Bowl week in Miami with Demetrius Andrade vs. Luke Keeler, Tevin Farmer against Jo Jo Diaz, Daniel Roman against Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Jake Paul against AnEsonGib – Adam’s particular favourite – we can’t wait to be in Miami next week ahead of the start for the UK.
“Kell Brook returns to the ring on February 8th at Sheffield Arena against Mark DeLuca, but Manchester, we’re back here on March 7th with a great great great fight. So many great memories in this very room here, I see Anthony Crolla up the back, and of course I remember the great build-up to the fight between Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena – so many great press conferences in this room here – that was a feisty feisty build-up. We’re going to get exactly the same thing in this build-up between two great fighters in very similar positions. Both guys who have been a World Champion in Scott Quigg, a World Title challenger in Jono Carroll – a great fight against Tevin Farmer in Philadelphia. Of course Scott Quigg, former Super-Bantamweight World Champion attempted to unify that in one of the biggest fights that Manchester has seen in the Carl Frampton fight. This is an absolute must-win fight for both guys.
“I was gutted when we lost this fight in Saudi Arabia, and when we put it to them for March 7 Scott accepted and of course Jono jumped at it straight away. This is a must-win for both guys, high stakes. There’s a big card coming for March 7, some of those guys are here today and some of them are in camp already abroad. We have the return of Hughie Fury, good to see him back, disappointed in Monte-Carlo when he fell ill during fight week, but he’s returning to the venue where he fought for the Heavyweight World Title against Joseph Parker. Scott Fitzgerald will be on the card as well, and also, late last night we awaited final confirmation that Zach Parker will be on this card fighting in an eliminator for the No.1 spot for the Super-Middleweight World Title, a very important fight to become mandatory challenger to Billy Joe Saunders, against Rohan Merdoch the Australian on this card as well. Ibrahim Nadim, a great young fighter, with Paul Speak and Ricky Hatton coming through. Jack Cullen returns on this card – what a fight with Felix Cash! It was probably one of my favourite fights of 2019. Dalton Smith as well, one of the top top GB talents coming through who had a wonderful start to his career last year.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing:
“Thanks Eddie. It’s fantastic to be back in Manchester and I think this is the fight for Manchester. Like you I was gutted that it was called off in Saudi, which was an amazing night for Anthony Joshua and for the whole of British boxing. It gives us such a huge amount to look forward to in 2020, there’s some really fantastic shows coming up, Kell Brook in Sheffield, we’ve got a load of stuff coming from the States, obviously we’ve seen the likes of Dillian Whyte coming back and Derek Chisora, Anthony Joshua brought his titles back. There’s so much to look forward to ahead. Also, the women’s scene is one fire, I was talking to Peter Fury earlier and Savannah Marshall will be going great guns this year, Katie Taylor we’ll see maybe Stateside but it would be great to have her here too, it was fantastic in Manchester last time when she become a two-weight World Champion.
“There’s some super stuff going on out there and we’re really please to be back, first of all in Manchester, I walked in with Anthony Crolla – he still loves it doesn’t he! He was working with us a little bit towards the end of last year doing a fantastic job on the safe side of the ropes. We loved watching him throughout his career. We followed Scott Quigg throughout his, he’s been a brilliant fighter, he’s always been so down to Earth, so easy to deal with and so wonderful in the ring. He’s had a fantastic career already, becoming a World Champion, Eddie mentioned that huge fight with Carl Frampton. He goes on, his dedication is incredible and I love that in Scott.
“I also love this guy, Jono Carroll, he’s brilliant. This fella has been in some fantastic fights. It was a terrific effort, we were there ringside when he pushed Tevin Farmer the whole way. He’s a colourful character, he’s fantastic. It’s a brilliant fight to make for the Manchester fight crowd – you guys know your stuff up here. The likes of Ricky Hatton, Anthony Farnell, Michael Gomez, Anthony Crolla through the years. Scott Quigg has got some life left in him the old dog, he looks fantastic doesn’t he – he always does. Jono Carroll will be pushing him all the way. It’s a tremendous bill with some terrific fighters on card. Jack Cullen – what a great fight that was with Felix Cash. It’s great to see Hughie Fury back and so many great youngsters coming through. I think it’s going to be a brilliant 2020 and we cannot wait to be here back in Manchester where they love their boxing, and you’re going to love this show. It’s a fantastic top of the bill Eddie.”
“It’s good to be back in Manchester in an exciting fight. I have been out the ring a long time and it has been frustrating but now I am back with Joe and really looking forward to March 7. “This is a fight that really excites me, he is going to come and try and have a go but he will get demolished. 2020 is going to be a very successful year for me. “I want to get in the ring and if he wants to have it then great but I think he will be on his bike! We will see if he backs up everything he is saying. “I know that I’ve still got it and can still do it. I am improving and on March 7 all the doubters will see that there is still plenty left in the tank. I will take Johno Carroll out, get my arm raised and move on. It’s a simple as that.”
“First of all I want to thank Eddie and and Adam for having me on such a big show and I’m finally topping a bill again. “After Saudi got cancelled I genuinely thought that Scott bottled it, I had no issues with him but I just remember thinking he better not have bottled that.
“This is a career shift, I have always wanted to top bills and I remember being at Manchester Arena when Scott fought Kiko Martinez thinking I cannot wait until that is me and now I’m here. “I am delighted to be here and if you know me personally you will know this is just business. I was more than happy to go out to Philadelphia and help Tevin Farmer after our fight and I am actually have disappointed that I won’t be there. “I will be working my ass off in Spain to go and smash Scott Quigg up. I want to gain as much experience as possible in this game and I welcome failure. I like it when I fail because it means I am pushing myself hard enough. “My loss to Farmer woke me up and I want to be the best I can possibly be. Anything that will push me mentally and physically I am up for. It keeps me focused, disciplined and gives me guidance. This is going to be a fantastic fight. I am already fit so this is just about fine-tuning now. I know that I am that world level now. I go to war, I think it is the Irish blood in me.”One thing I just have to question is why does he feel he has to change trainer? To me that’s weakness in the mind, that’s weakness in the head. You change trainer before such a big fight? I know he’s going back to Joe. Joe is an amazing trainer, but at the same time, that’s weakness, in my own opinion. That might be a bad mistake mate.”
“I was absolutely devastated not to be able to box in Monte-Caro after all of that hard work. It wasn’t meant to be, but it has given me that bit longer with the stuff I’ve been working on in the gym. It’s exciting to be back in Manchester where I fought for the World Title, it wasn’t my night, but it’s all about learning and all of these fights put me where I am today, they’ve made me a better fighter, and people are in for a shock the next time around. It’s going to be an exciting year.
“People are going to see a major turn around. I want all of those fights again. I was basically fighting with one hand and they still couldn’t do no good with me. They’re the fights I want again. It was frustrating for myself to not let that right hand go against Povetkin. I kick myself all the time about it but it’s one of them, it happens and people are going to see a big difference next time.”
“Yeah the Cash fight was a good experience. I’d just like to say thanks for getting me back out on these shows. 2020 is going to be my year. I’m not going to come up with any excuses for Felix Cash, it’s time to get back wining and hopefully we’ll get it again. I’m not looking past anybody, I’m looking forward to my next fight, I’ve just got to keep on going and keep on winning. To be honest I wasn’t myself, I’m not going to come up with any excuses, I wasn’t myself, if it happens again I will be wining that fight. Hopefully before the end of the year we’ll get it again.”
“I enjoyed last year stepping into the professional ranks. I had four fights, settled in well, but the new year is here now and it’s time to step up the rounds and the opposition. I just want to stay active this year, stepping up the rounds and we’ll see how the year pans out. If it were up to me I’d jump into those big fights now but you’ve got to be realistic, it’s a tough game to be in and you’ve got to learn your trade.
“Sometimes it’s not just about your ability, you’ve got to become a 12 round fighter and get the experience. I just listen to my team. I just do what they say. Obviously I’ve got the best promotional team around me, one day I want to become a World Champion but I just need to listen to my team, I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.”
“First of all I’d like to thank Eddie, Matchroom and Sky Sports Boxing for giving me this opportunity to fight on the undercard of a great main event. I’ll show you all what I’m about on March 7. I’m still getting used to the transition into the pro game, I need to learn to plant my feet a bit more and let some more power shots go.”
Northern Irish Lightweight contender James Tennyson has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing as he targets a shot at the British 135lbs title after stopping Craig Evans in their Eliminator bout in November.
Tennyson called time on a blossoming amateur career at 18 to pursue his dream of becoming a World Champion and has since won seven professional titles at three weights including the European and Commonwealth Super-Featherweight Titles and most recently the WBA International Lightweight Title.
An impressive six-fight unbeaten streak at Super-Featherweight saw the hard-hitting Belfast man earn a number one ranking with the WBA before securing his first World Title shot against IBF ruler Tevin Farmer at the TD Garden in Boston in October 2018.
‘The Assassin’ made the decision to move up to Lightweight after falling short in his World Title bid in America and has carried his knockout power into the new division having finished all four of his contests at the weight inside the distance.
“Over the last couple of years, I have had a good relationship with Matchroom and all the big titles I have fought for and won have been on Matchroom shows,” said Tennyson. “Without the opportunities they have given me I wouldn’t be where I am today and I feel this move will bring me back to world level boxing which is where I want to be.
“2020 is going to be a big and busy year for me and I look forward to being involved in some big fights. I have always been a puncher and I feel with my power I can mix it with anyone in this Lightweight division. Matchroom is at the top of the sport and I believe that with this deal I can be up there as well.
“I want to fight for World Titles, and I am confident Matchroom will take me to where I want to be. This is a huge opportunity for me and will bring me some huge nights. In time, I would love to bring some big nights to Belfast so at the moment I am just buzzing for the future.”
“I’m excited to add hard-hitting Belfast Lightweight talent James Tennyson to our ranks,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “James has been on an electric KO run since making the move up to Lightweight after his brave World Title challenge against Tevin Farmer in 2018, but in truth he is a different animal at 135lbs. The Lightweight division is on fire at the moment and James has what it takes to throw his name back into the World Title mix.”
“Both James and I are delighted to finally put pen to paper for Matchroom Boxing after impressing on all his appearances for them over the last three years,” said Mark Dunlop, Manager of Tennyson. “James has always looked up to Eddie for the wonderful opportunities he has bestowed on him in recent years.
“James is a dedicated and talented young man and will stop at nothing until he achieves his goal of becoming a World Champion. At 26 James has an incredible CV having done everything the hard way – he has built up a tremendous resilience and will to succeed and I’m excited for the next chapter of his career.”
Super-Featherweight contenders meet in England vs. Ireland battle
Super-Featherweight contenders Scott Quigg and Jono Carroll will meet in a huge England vs. Ireland clash at Manchester Arena on Saturday March 7, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Former WBA Super-Bantamweight ruler Quigg (35-2-2, 26 KOs) returns to Manchester to pursue his dream of becoming a two-weight World Champion. He made five defences of the WBA crown before losing out to Carl Frampton in a Unification battle at Manchester Arena in 2016.
The Bury man was outpointed by Oscar Valdez in an attempt for the Mexican’s WBO Featherweight World Title at the StubHub Center in Carson in March 2018 but now has his sights set on a World Championship at Super-Featherweight.
‘King Kong’ (17-1-1, 3 KOs) is on the hunt for a second shot at world honours after he returned to action with a win over Eleazer Valenzuela in Mexico following his spirited World Title challenge in Philadelphia in March against IBF Super-Featherweight king Tevin Farmer.
“I’m looking forward to making my return after having 16 months out the ring due to the injury I suffered early last year,” said Quigg. “Unfortunately the injury reoccurred before the Saudi Arabia show but the arm is fully healed now and I’m already in great shape about to start camp.
“This is a fight I’m really excited about. I’m looking forward to getting in there and taking him apart and showing that despite being out the ring for over a year and the injury, there is still a lot left in the tank.
“I’ve got everything fully focussed on March 7 to put in a career best performance! It’s great to be back fighting and headlining at Manchester Arena again and for my supporters to be able to see me back fighting on UK soil. It’s a great platform for me to launch my career forward again and get my name back in the mix for a World Title shot.”
“I haven’t necessarily learned anything extra about Scott Quigg since we were first due to fight, but I have learned more about myself – how much I want this life and what I’m willing to give up in order to accomplish my dreams and goals,” said Carroll.
“I understand I need to be ready all the time and so does my partner, so I was training the day before Christmas and then I jumped on a plane out to America to help Tevin Farmer prepare for his fight the day after Christmas.
“I love Christmas and I just bought my first house in Spain, so it was quite special to wake up in my own home on Christmas morning and appreciate what’s around me.
“Now it’s time for the next step. I know my worth as a person and as a boxer. I won’t let Quigg beat me no matter what type of fight it has to be. I’m good at adapting so I will see what he’s good at and then take that away from him.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “It’s brilliant to be back in Manchester as Scott Quigg and Jono Carroll, two all-action fighters, meet in a must-win crossroads clash.
“We’ve followed Scott’s exciting journey to a World Title, while Carroll still believes he can succeed at the highest level following a courageous loss to IBF champion Tevin Farmer.
“It’s going to be another breathless battle between Quigg and Carroll, with more big names to be added to the bill in the coming weeks.”
An announcement on tickets and undercard information will be made next week.
Brit defends WBA Super-Flyweight strap against four-weight World ruler
Kal Yafai will defend his WBA World Super-Flyweight title against Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez on Saturday February 29 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Yafai (26-0 15 KOs) makes the sixth defense of his WBA strap and returns to the States having gone the distance with dangerous Dominican Republic challenger Norbelto Jimenez in his last defense in Providence, Rhode Island in June.
The Birmingham star and Britain’s longest reigning World champion has been gunning for a major fight and has certainly landed that in the shape of Chocolatito (48-2 40 KOs) the former four-weight World ruler and pound for pound king who returned to action in December with victory in Japan. The Nicaraguan is gunning for a return to his World champion status and both fighters are thrilled to be clashing on a huge night in the Lone Star state.
“I wanted the biggest possible fight available and after the Juan Francisco Estrada unification fell through, I had the opportunity to fight Chocolatito, the former pound for pound king!” said Yafai.
“Chocolatito is someone that I have idolized as I worked my way up to become World champion myself, so it doesn’t get much bigger than this and it will bring out the best in me. I can’t wait, it is a case of when idols become rivals and I am so honored to share the ring with him but also show the world that I am an elite World champion.”
“First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Eddie Hearn for giving me this opportunity to fight for the World championship,” said Chocolatito. “God has responded to my prayers once again. I want to thank God and Teiken foremost. Also, the Champion, Kal Yafai for giving me the opportunity to fight for the championship once again. I know this will be a very hard fight, but it will be worthy of all our efforts and determination.”
“This is a brilliant fight on an absolute monster of a show!” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Kal Yafai has been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time and now he gets it against a legend of the sport in Chocolatito. This card in Texas is going to be epic and you can expect Yafai v Chocolatito to be an all-out war!”
Yafai and Chocolatito is part of a massive night of action in Frisco, topped by the Welterweight showdown between Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas, with all-action Mexican Julio Cesar Martinez making the first defense of his WBC World Flyweight title against unbeaten Welsh challenger Jay Harris – and more stellar action to be added to the card.
“I feel great, I feel good. We’re four weeks out, I’m on weight, my training is going great. I’m ready to fight, I’d be ready to fight next week. It feels good to be preparing for a fight again. I’m fighting back in Sheffield, we know what we get from the fans – amazing support. It’s always an amazing atmosphere in the arena.
“DeLuca is in front of me, an ex marine, a very fit fighter, very strong, he’s going to come over here like it’s his World Title fight. The fans are in for a real treat and I can’t wait to give them that treat. I can’t wait to perform and for the crowd to get behind me and push me on.
“Dom has watched DeLuca live a few times and I’ve seen little bits of him. I don’t really watch tapes of my opponents but I’ll watch a bit more of him in the next couple of weeks and then basically just listen to Dom and the game plan. The it’s just about getting in there and executing it.
“At the beginning of last year it was frustrating because I was trying to get the Terence Crawford fight to happen. I was trying to make a few fights happen but they never materialised. 2019 was frustrating at first but then I was just enjoying my time with my little girls, went travelling about a little bit but then I started getting a bit bored and thought boxing is where I belong and I need to give some more of myself to the fans. I’ve got unfinished business and I want to give all I’ve got.
“I want whoever holds a belt, I want to be a two-time World Champion this year. I want to be on everybody’s lips, ‘I can’t believe what this guy’s done. I can’t believe it. What’s happened? He’s the main man again’. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
“I am fully focused at the moment on Claudio Marrero who is very dangerous and I’m sure this will be a difficult fight for me to win. He has great amateur pedigree as a former Olympian with the Dominican Republic, he’s only lost to high calibre boxers and he can punch.
“I’ve got to do a number on this kid and get him out the way. I have trained very hard for this fight and I will raise to the occasion, step up my game and be ready for whatever he brings to the table on February 8.
“I’ve got to be 100% ready and I can’t afford to make any mistakes because if I do that could be the end of the night for me.
“The day after my last fight I went back to the drawing board and straight back in the gym. I don’t believe that I lost that fight but the judges saw it a different way so next time I’ve got to make sure I don’t leave the decision to them.
“I believe the IBF is the best governing body and that’s why I’ve gone back down that route. I have got unfinished business and the IBF crown is the title that I want but I have challenges to overcome between now and then, if I don’t win this fight then there is no World Title fight for me.”
“On February 8 you should expect fireworks and a boxing lesson from myself!”