Terri Harper and Cecilia Braekhus box to majority draw

Terri Harper and Cecilia Braekhus battled to a draw in their WBA and vacant WBO 154-pound title bout. Photo by Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Terri Harper defended her WBA junior middleweight title for the second time with a majority draw verdict over future hall of famer Cecilia Braekhus in the co-featured bout to the Leigh Wood-Josh Warrington showdown on Saturday in Sheffield, England.

Harper (14-1-2, 6 KOs) appeared to get the better of the long-reigning former undisputed welterweight champ with nimble feet and a disciplined stick-and-move game plan that earned her a 97-93 tally on one of the official scorecards, but the other two judges scored the bout 95-95 (0r five rounds each), perhaps moved by 42-year-old Braekhus’ activity and late surge.

The vacant WBO title was on the line and remains vacant, which irked Harper’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who blasted the official judges as “incompetent” after the bout.

“I feel I did just enough to win,” said the always gracious Harper, a 26-year-old former 130-pound beltholder from Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. “I felt the weight of Cecilia (who appeared much bigger), she has an awkward, long jab. Maybe I needed an extra gear (in the late rounds).”

Harper, who looked small in comparison to Braekhus, said she’s considering a drop down in weight to welterweight or junior welterweight.

Braekhus (37-2-1, 9 KOs), who was only one bout removed from back-to-back losses to Jessica McCaskill coming into Saturday’s bout, is a living legend in women’s boxing but will likely stick around for another title shot, perhaps feeling that she knocked off some ring rust. The Norwegian veteran stalked Harper behind a busy jab but wasn’t able to cut the ring off on her younger opponent and wasn’t able to pull the trigger on power shots or combinations until the final two rounds of the contest.

Still, her willingness to mix it up, and perhaps her name recognition, was enough for two judges to call the bout even.


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