Katie Taylor retained her lightweight titles on a superb night for British and Irish female fighters at Wembley Arena.
Taylor outclassed Miriam Gutierrez, the World Boxing Association’s mandatory challenger, while Terri Harper retained her world title and Rachel Ball claimed an interim world title, at super-featherweight and super-bantamweight respectively.
But it was the Irish fighter who stole the show in London, demonstrating complete mastery from the opening bell, dropping Spain’s Gutierrez in the fourth round and earning a deserved unanimous points victory. The judges returned scores of 100-89, 100-90 and 99-91.
“It was a great overall performance,” said Taylor. “I boxed well at long distance and close. I did a bit of everything in there tonight. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at her. I just couldn’t get her out of there. She’s as tough as nails – so credit to her. She hung in and she was there to fight until the very end. She’s obviously big and strong and that showed tonight. I’m still unbeaten and this is a great end to the year.”
As for the occasion, Taylor added: “This was absolutely huge. I think every girl on the card tonight boxed brilliantly. Three fantastic fights. It’s just an amazing showcase. As I’ve said before, Eddie [Hearn, the promoter] has given us this platform.
“Women’s boxing is on fire right now because of the platform he has given us. What an amazing few years of women’s boxing. That’s what it’s all about for myself, inspiring the next generation. Hopefully there was a few young girls watching through Facebook on the livestream. It’s all about inspiring the next generation and what an amazing platform to do it on.”
Harper looked sensational super, the Yorkshirewoman stopping Norway’s Katharina Thanderz in nine rounds to retain her World Boxing Council and International Boxing Organisation belts with a punch-perfect performance behind the jab.
“I’m buzzing,” said Harper. “That’s my birthday and Christmas all in one. That’s made my year. Having that tough fight with Tasha [Jonas], there were doubts, and there were wrongs that I needed to put right. We came away and I’ve worked my butt off. I’ve just gone out there and breezed it.
“I want to fight the best. I’m coming for you Mikaela Mayer,” added Harper of her divisional rival from the United States, who has been pursuing a unification fight. “Slowly but surely we’ll get there and I’ll be punching you in the face very soon.”
Ball’s fairy-tale story continued with a unanimous decision win over Argentina’s Jorgelina Guanini to secure the vacant interim WBC crown. Ball, a social worker, was denied a shot at the WBA bantamweight belt on Friday afternoon when late replacement Guanini failed to make the weight limit, but she still completed a career-best win with scores of 99-91, 99-91 and 99-92.
Ball said: “I felt confident that it was mine. I was landing my shots pretty well. She was running around the ring and I feel like I used my distance a lot better.
“Everything happens for a reason and perhaps she was what I needed at this time. Fair play to her, it was a really good fight. Look how far Terri has gone and look how far Katie has gone. I’d love to be able to be as successful as them. That would be amazing. It’s all good experience. I hope we inspire some girls out there to try boxing and do something different.”