Harper vs Jonas: A Night To Remember
It’s a real shame that yet another big fight is scarred by more apparent controversial scoring.
The draw left many unsatisfied, unfinished business, a challenger fighting up and beyond any real expectations, denied what many believe was her rightful moment. It was in many ways anticlimactic, but it was no robbery, and the issues over the scoring shouldn’t mask what a terrific fight we saw.
Terri Harper and Natasha Jonas served up a classic, a great advert for boxing of any kind, a true world title fight in every sense of the world.
World title belts are now badly devalued, the various ‘alphabet organisations’ have seen to that. The term world champion should mean everything, often it means nothing. In a back garden in Essex, Harper and Jonas reminded us of another time, and because of the decision, we get to see it all over again. Few will complain.
Jonas viewed as washed-up and weight drained, proved her doubters wrong with a performance that defied belief at times. The signs had been there all week something was in the air. Jonas looked confident, well prepared with that knowing glint that she knew something many didn’t.
Written off after her stoppage loss to Viviane Obenauf in 2018, Jonas came out with real purpose in the opening round and the tone of the fight was already set.
Harper had a good second, and everyone waited for Jonas to fade, she didn’t.
I had Jonas up by two rounds after 6 rounds, but Harper had perhaps her best round in the 7th, but Jonas again wouldn’t fold, she wasn’t going anywhere.
Jonas promised to knock out her unbeaten opponent, and in the 8th she came very close to making good on that promise. A combination had Harper badly hurt, but she showed her resilience to survive the worst moment of her young career.
In winning the 9th, Jonas, on my card, only had to stay standing to become a world champion. But Harper sensing her titles were in imminent danger drove herself forward to edge the round, and in doing so, salvaged a draw from the brink of defeat.
The respective body language at the final bell said plenty, Jonas thought she had won, Harper hoped. The Liverpool fighter was denied a famous victory, but she can be immensely proud of her performance.
All the talk pre-fight was about Harper and what lies ahead, Jonas was the stepping stone, the opponent with the name but little else. But ‘Miss GB’ was motivated by plenty and undeniably gave the performance of her life and Jonas will get another chance somewhere down the line.
Harper survived, and more than played her part, she will learn from this experience, her future is still golden. Harper will be a better fighter because of the fright Jonas gave her.
The respect was always there, and the class both showed at the final bell highlighted it for all to see. Sometimes something so raw, so primitive, so brutal can also be so beautiful. Boxing at it’s finest, a night and a fight to remember long after the talk about the scoring has subsided.