Harper is hat trick heroine

Terri Harper
Terri Harper

TERRI Harper cemented her place as one of the brightest young female boxing talents in Britain by capturing her third straight National Female ABA Championship.

Harper is only 15 but already has three ABA crowns to her name after a comprehensive victory over rival Sophie Colbourn.

The Denaby youngster triumphed 23-15 over her North Merseyside ABC opponent in the 60kg Class 4 final in Manchester.

Harper edged the first round to lead 8-5 before surging clear in the second to carry a 16-8 advantage into the final period.

The Ernie Oxer School of Boxing fighter tired in the last round, allowing Colbourn to turn up the pressure.

But Harper did enough for a share of the scoring points in the final round to seal the victory.

Coach Paul Durose was delighted with her performance.

He said: “I’m really proud of Terri and what she’s managed to achieve.

“It’s down to a lot of hard work in the gym and it’s really paid off.

“She’s a special lass and deserves all this success.

“In the second round she was as good as I’ve seen her in a long time and showed exactly what she is capable of.”

Durose is hoping the championship win will spur Harper on to further success.

He said: “I think Terri herself would say she’s not been as dedicated to her boxing this year as she has been in the past.

“That’s probably why she was so tired in that last round but her skills got her through it.

“This will probably give her a new push because she knows what she can do.

“She needs to build on this now.”

Harper is now targeting a place in the England set up but knows already how difficult it is to force a way in.

Durose said: “The next step for Terri is a regular place in the England squad.

“She’s shown she’s worthy of it with the championships she’s won but it’s just getting in there.”

The ABA have confirmed all female champions will be invited to training camps next year.

Camps will be held in the north and the south before a combined event at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport.

The ABA are keen for girls not to lose interest in boxing by providing elite training sessions and top level sparring.