Terri Harper Wins, Erica Farias Wins Too

Terri Harper Wins First Lightweight Fight, Erica Farias Wins Too in England


By David A. Avila

In two battles between Britain and Argentina it was former super featherweight titlist Terri Harper moving up to lightweight and winning her split with a convincing win against Argentina’s Yamila Abellaneda on Saturday.

It was Harper’s first foray into the lightweight division after suffering a knockout loss to Alycia Baumgardner.

Harper (12-1-1, 6 Kos) looked strong against Abellaneda (13-5-1, 3 Kos) a tough experienced fighter in front of a large audience at Nottingham Arena in Nottingham, England. It was a vast difference than the last time she entered the boxing ring.

She passed the test.

“Tonight, was about getting a win,” said promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Last November, Harper was knocked out and lost the WBC super featherweight title.

Harper was able to use her reach and distance to out-work and out-maneuver Abellaneda who had excellent defense but timid offense throughout the 10-round lightweight fight.

Abellaneda connected with the first punch of the fight and then it was Harper the rest of the way. Combination punching and moving out of range, it was a one-sided fight for the first two rounds.

In the third round, Abellaneda turned up the attack and was able to finally land combinations. It seemed she might put up a fight, but it turned out to be a mirage. Harper ended the round with a right uppercut that might have changed Abellaneda’s mind about being too aggressive.

Harper dominated the next three rounds with combination punching while Abellaneda tried to return fire. She was unsuccessful.

In the seventh round Harper switched to southpaw and Abellaneda followed the switch too. The Argentine fighter was finally able to connect for one of her better rounds.

Harper returned to being more aggressive and unloaded combinations on the slower Abellaneda who took the punches well. She has never lost by knockout and Harper’s punches never hurt her. Still, Harper scored well and often in the eight and ninth rounds.

The final round saw Abellaneda connect with combinations and Harper reply with two lefts. The Argentine fighter was much more aggressive and Harper was more willing to engage. Though Abellaneda had a good round it wasn’t enough to offset all the work Harper had put in for 10 rounds.

All three judges scored in favor of Harper 99-91.

Harper seemed content with her performance that came five months after her knockout loss to Baumgardner.

“This is just a fresh start for me,” said Harper.


Farias Wins

Former world champion Erica Farias (27-5, 10 Kos) of Argentina out-smarted and out-worked the younger British fighter Sandy Ryan (3-1, 2 Kos) to win by split decision after 10 rounds in a super lightweight clash.

Still, it was a good and solid performance for the much taller Ryan.

After years of fighting the elite and being a former world champion in two weight divisions, Farias showed she knows a thing or two and can still fight. Only elite fighters have beaten her in the past.

Farias, 37, immediately went into attack mode from the opening bell. It seemed to surprise Ryan who was slow to react for the first two rounds. It was all Farias firing off rapid combinations and moving out of range.

Ryan made her move in the third round behind two thudding left hooks. But Farias was still out-punching the younger British fighter. But the difference was slight.

In the fourth round Farias opened up with a four-punch combination and then a three-punch combination. Ryan went to work with thudding body shots that caught the attention of the Argentine fighter. A left uppercut by Ryan connected at the end of the round.

Both fighters traded liberally in the fifth with Farias opening up fast with combination punching and Ryan attacking the body with left hooks to the head with uppercuts. It was the closest round yet.

Little by little Ryan was beginning to find the range especially with her body attack. It seemed to take the speed away from Farias punches. Left hooks by Ryan continued to be the preferred weapon and she looked strong.

It also looked like the younger fighter Ryan was about to take over, but Farias fired up the after-burners. Combination punching by the Argentine fighter continued to keep the fight in her favor. Though she was slowing down she kept punching and kept punching.

The younger Ryan seemed fresher and took advantage of the Argentine fighters waning activity. Body shots rained on Farias who began to hold more frequently. Ryan took advantage and connected with a right uppercut. But during one of the clinches Ryan emerged with a bloody nose. It was her best round.

Though Farias was obviously tired, but she continued to out-work Ryan. But not by much. Ryan seemed to figure out that she needed to keep pace and began doubling up with lefts and with rights. Farias seemed to be bothered by a body shot but continued.

In the final round Farias opened up with another three-punch combination. Though the impact of the blows had waned, they were still scoring blows. Ryan replied with two left hooks and was grasped by the Argentine fighter. Again Farias dived in with a three-punch combination and the fight was stopped by the referee who deducted a point from Farias for coming in with her head.

It was the wrong time for a referee to deduct a point but it did not stall the Argentine fighter’s attack. Again she uncorked a three-punch combination and again fired another combo. Ryan had no answer for the attack.

After 10 rounds two judges saw Farias the winner by split decision 97-94, 95-94 and one saw Ryan 97-93 who accepted the challenge of fighting the former world champion despite having only three pro fights.

Farias won and will continue to be a viable foe for anyone between 130 and 140 pounds. For Ryan, the fight proved to be a valuable learning process. She knows now she can fight against a world champion and win rounds.


(Photo by David A. Avila)