Terri Harper draws with British rival Natasha Jonas to retain world title

Terri Harper clung on to her featherweight world title as she battled to a hard-fought draw against Natasha Jonas.

After an historic first world title bout between two British women, both could lay claim to having done enough to have their hand raised.

But after a see-saw battle which headlined Eddie Hearn's second Fight Camp, the judges could not split the rivals.

Jonas started the faster from her southpaw stance as she found a home for her left hand.

Both women were fighting for the 11th time as professionals but Jonas was the elder by 13 years.

She landed with a left hook-right hand combination in the second round but was then cut over her right eye as Harper worked her way back into the session.

Tactics were tossed into the humid night sky in the third as Jonas switched downstairs to spark a fierce exchange of blows which Harper edged.

A quieter fourth sprung into life with 30 seconds to go when Jonas launched a brief but frenzied attack.

And she carried her ascendancy into the fifth as she varied her flurries to head and body – but it was Harper who had the final say at the halfway point.

The sixth round followed a by now familiar pattern as the challenger started brightly before the champion answered back in the second minute.

Harper had predicted a seventh-round stoppage but it was she who was the first to encounter trouble in the eighth when Jonas rocked the champion with a straight left and right hook to leave the fight in the balance with four minutes remaining.

Another right hook found the target from Jonas in the penultimate round and it was she who had a spring in her step as she headed back to her corner for the final time.

And Jonas struck first in the final round but Harper responded in a manner befitting a champion on the brink to leave the fight in the hands of the judges.

Harper was the more subdued of the rivals at the bell only to cling on to her belt by the narrowest of margins.

On the undercard, Chris Billam-Smith needed just two rounds to stop Nathan Thornley and retain his Commonwealth cruiserweight title.

Thorley touched down in the opening session and then had no answer to the champion's bludgeoning blows as the referee waved the contest off after two further knockdowns.

Billam-Smith, who was due to get married on Saturday but has postponed his wedding, said: "I hurt him in the first round; not visibly, but I could tell.

"I knew the finish was coming and as soon as he had success I knew he would get reckless so I walked him on to one."

Anthony Fowler made it a double for trainer Shane McGuigan with a dominant performance against Adam Harper.

The Liverpudlian was deducted a point in the second round for repeated low blows but had Harper in trouble at the end of the fourth.

A frustrated Fowler was struggling to secure the stoppage however and was then threatened with disqualification in the sixth session for another low blow.

But referee Ian John Lewis had finally seen enough midway through the seventh round as he saved Harper for another day.

Earlier, talented 20-year-old Hopey Price controlled his fight against the rough and ready Jonny Phillips as the former amateur standout eased to a third professional win.

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