Terri Harper, British Boxer

Terri Harper: On Her Upcoming Title Fight

Terri, your next fight has just been announced against Hannah Rankin, for the 24th of September 2022. Tell us how you’re feeling going into this title match?

Very excited. Obviously, being the previous world champion and getting that taken away [in 2021 against Alycia Baumgardner], I am excited to get back out there and become a two-time, two-weight world champion. Time to get back on top and show everyone they haven’t seen the best of me yet.


In March 2022, you won against Yamila Belen Abellaneda by unanimous decision. How was it to secure that win? Tell us about the fight.

So that fight in March was mainly to get out there, put a few demons to bed and answer a few questions I had about myself - just go out there and get a win. Show everyone that I can pick myself up. [...] That fight was to show everyone that I’m still improving as a fighter, every day I am learning something new…


In the run up to that fight, you worked with a sports psychologist. Can you share more about that? Why did you choose to do that? How did it help?

Obviously I had a lot of demons and a lot of questions. I had been putting a lot of blame on myself [after the 2021 loss]… so [working with a sports psychologist] was to just have someone give me advice, to know that what I’m thinking and feeling is normal. I realised there are plenty of other athletes out there who have experienced the same thoughts and feelings. And it was not just for me, but for Andrew [Terri's Trainer] also… how to deal with pressures in the run up to fights and fight week, really blocking out the noise from trolls and social media.


Tell us about your current training schedule and whether it’s changed now you’ve moved up a couple of weight (divisions).

I’m training twice a day, Monday to Friday, once on a Saturday. Working on power, endurance, and conditioning. Now I’m carrying this extra weight… it has more of an effect on your body thank you’d think. The lactic levels in your body will be much higher, you’re putting a lot more demands on your body… so it’s really a question of focusing on conditioning and getting used to the greater demands on my body as well as keeping my strength, eating well, fueling properly – following a strict nutrition plan. Then, on the boxing side, working on the things we see with Hannah… what we can do to beat her.


What is the part of fight preparation that you like the least? Is there anything you avoid doing?

In previous fights, it’s definitely been the dieting, but I’d say now it’s missing out on family events, gatherings… explaining to my little sister that I can’t take her to play areas because it’s too close to the fight, you know.


Let's talk about what makes you tick as an athlete. What is that you love about boxing?

For me, I enjoy sports as a whole. I’ve played football, basketball, a bit of everything really… But when I found boxing... it’s more of an individual sport and the pressure is on yourself. I like that challenge. It’s not a sport for everyone - not everyone likes getting punched in the face - but I enjoy the physical nature of boxing, the competitive nature of it… and the mental challenge.


How are you in the days before the fight? How do you handle the anticipation and pressure?

I’ve learned over the years how to deal with fight week… I’d say I’m pretty relaxed, I have a really good team so it’s a week of jokes and laughing with the team, not too serious. We enjoy the hotel and get about in city we’re in, do a bit of shopping, not stressing about the fight until it's time to.

In terms of handling the pressure, I try not to let nervous energy get to me. I mainly get nervous for the public speaking, press conferences and open workouts. The buildup in the week really takes it out of me, then you’re just desperate for fight night to come and get out and do what you do day-in and day-out. 


Who else would you love to fight?

I want the big fights. That’s what I’m in this for. Especially after losing my world titles and having to start again and build up, I want the big fights now. There’s one fight I want at this weight. Obviously fighting Tash [Natasha Jonas] and getting a draw during the 2020 lockdown in Eddie [Hearn’s] back garden is a rematch I know plenty of people want to see and it makes sense – Tash has a lot of raw talent at this weight. And I just think it can be a really great fight that can be made. Obviously, both of us are at different weights, we’ve had a few years to grow up as fighters, and I think this would be the perfect time to have a rematch.


Tell us about your work in relation to the StoneWall Charity. How important is that to you, in terms of your work representing and advocating for the LBGTQ community?

I’ve never shied away from who I am, and if that helps just one person who’s struggling to come to terms with how they identify, then that’s my job done. I want to show that boxing is an inclusive and accepting sport – there is no judging that happens in the boxing ring. We have people from all different backgrounds and all walks of life stepping into the gym.


 Thank you, Terri.

Follow Terri Harper on Instagram here and Twitter here.

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