RYAN RHODES believes this Friday night’s ‘The World Awaits’ event in Rotherham is set to be one of the best non-televised shows British boxing has ever seen.
Denaby Main’s Terri Harper vies to become the UK’s youngest ever female professional world champion when she tops the bill against tough and experienced South African Nozipho Bell at a sold out Magna Centre.
A stellar undercard also sees Gavin McDonnell return to action following his WBA super-bantamweight title challenge against Daniel Roman last October, whilst former English and Commonwealth title rulers Lee Apppleyard and Jason Cunningham also appear.
Rhodes, who co-promotes alongside Stefy Bull, knows all about big nights having shared the ring with the likes of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez during a glittering 17-year career at light-middleweight and middleweight.
And he feels that away from the watchful gaze of millions on networks such as BT Sport and Sky, Friday’s event is as good as it gets.
“Look at the card. You’ve got English champions, British champions, Commonwealth champions, European champions and former world title challengers on this show and the only that’s missing from this event is TV,” Rhodes told Wednesday’s press conference.
“For two promoters like myself and Stefy to put on a world title and not get the support from TV is credit to ourselves and what we do and also to the boxers who want to fight on the promotions that we stage.
“My job after being a fighter was to train, manage and promote champions. After hanging my gloves up seven years ago, I moved into training and I’ve been promoting and putting shows for four years but I never even dreamt I’d helping put on a world title fight.”
For the aforementioned Stefy Bull, Friday’s bill presents more than just a great non-TV card and the biggest event he’s been involved in as a promoter, it also means a chance to make history.
Bull co-trained Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell to IBF title glory in 2013 and victory for Harper this week will mean Stefy being the first person in British boxing to train both male and female world champions.
“It’s something that will make me very proud and even if I never do anything else in boxing again, it’ll be an achievement that no one can take away from me,” he said.
“It’s also big for Ray Doyle, who also trains Terri. He’s had a British champion with Robbie Barrett, he’s had Jason Cunningham as Commonwealth champion and he’s English champions, but a world title is massive. These are the nights we’re in the sport for.”
Terri Harper insists she will keep her feet firmly on the ground
BOXING sensation Terri Harper insists she will keep her feet firmly on the ground even if she makes history in Rotherham this Friday night (July 19).
The Denaby Main starlet faces South Africa’s Nozipho Bell for the vacant IBO super-featherweight crown at the Magna Centre with victory meaning she will be Britain’s youngest female world champion and the first from Yorkshire.
Having only turned professional in November 2017, it has been a whirlwind 20 months for the 22-year-old but she’s as grounded as ever despite personally selling over 400 tickets for this event.
“Winning that world title would mean a lot to me. We’d be making history, not just for Doncaster but also for South Yorkshire and female boxing as well,” Harper, 7-0 (4 KOs), said.
“Everything has happened really fast and sometimes it feels like I don’t have time to keep up with it all. After the fight is when I go home and reflect and take in everything I’m achieving.
“I feel like we’re moving at a good pace and there more big nights ahead but I’m not getting ahead of myself.”
Nozipho Bell may be something of an unknown quantity to the UK fight fraternity but represents a significant step up in class for Harper.
The Nelson Mandela Bay resident has already mixed in world class having pushed unbeaten WBO champion Ewa Brodnicka over ten rounds and is talking a good game, telling South African press that she will “take the title home”.
Harper, who recently completed a training camp in Spain, said: “She (Bell) has got a world title to try and win and she hasn’t had to stress about things like selling tickets.
“I’ve not seen much of her, just a couple of videos that Andrew (Stefy Bull) sent me, but she looks like a tough girl and she’s going to come and give it her all. No doubt she’s going to bring her A game so I’ve got to be on the ball to make sure I get the win.”
Stefy Bull: “Terri Harper Could Become One Of Boxing’s Big Players”
RESPECTED promoter and trainer Stefy Bull believes unbeaten Terri Harper is a star in the making.
Harper, 22, vies to become Britain’s youngest female world champion when she locks horns with South Africa’s Nozipho Bell for the vacant IBO super-featherweight crown at the Magna Centre in Rotherham next Friday night (July 19).
Given that the Denaby Main stylist only turned professional in November 2017, her rise to world title class has been little short of meteoric.
And Stefy feels she is equipped with all the attributes to become one of the sweet science’s shining lights.
“I strongly believe I’ve discovered someone very unique, someone very exciting and someone who could arguably be a big player, not just in women’s boxing, but in boxing overall,” Stefy said.
“I’ve always been very vocal about Terri’s talent and I think now everybody is seeing what she is about.
“She’s only 22 and she’s full of potential. Imagine what she’s going to be like when she’s 24 or 25 years of age.
“I think Terri could become Yorkshire’s biggest attraction. Take Josh Warrington away and she’s rivalling anyone in terms of popularity because she’s getting a lot of publicity and she’s personally sold over £20,000 of tickets for this fight.
“It’s even more crazy when you consider that she isn’t from a big town or city. She’s from a little mining village just outside of Doncaster.
“She’s already surpassed anyone I’ve worked with and I can’t think of anyone else who was driving this level of interest on small hall shows at her age and after only seven fights.”
Despite his confidence in Harper’s ability, Stefy is keen to stress that Nozipho Bell isn’t an opponent that he and co-trainer Ray Doyle are taking lightly.
The 29-year-old from Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth has already operated in world class having won an WBF crown in her last fight and previously pushed WBO titlist Ewa Brodnicka to the wire.
“She (Bell) went all the way to Poland to fight Brodnicka and from what I’ve read online, it was a very close and controversial decision,” Stefy said.
“If she can mix it like that with a genuine unbeaten world champion, then she can obviously fight and winning is not a foregone conclusion for Terri.
“This will tell us exactly where Terri is at. We believe Terri is already at world level and she’ll prove that.
“In the last few fights she’s beaten Nina Bradley who was the Commonwealth champion and undefeated and on only ten days notice she stopped Lopez, who was a southpaw and a former IBF and WBA world champion. This is the next step in Terri’s rise in the sport.”
Stefy Bull Promotions in association with Ryan Rhodes’s 26RR Promotions presents an evening of professional boxing entitled ‘The World Awaits’ on Friday 19 July at the Magna Centre, Rotherham.
As well Harper v Bell, Doncaster’s two-time world title challenger Gavin McDonnell returns to action, Lee Appleyard boxes in his hometown for the first time, Jason Cunningham keeps busy ahead of a potential British super-bantamweight title shot, and unbeaten Sheffield prospect Callum ‘Hitman’ Hancock continues his education.
Also in action are debutants Callum Beardow and Cam Shaw, Sheffield’s Jamaican-born puncher Nicolie Campbell and fast-rising super-lightweight Levi Kinsiona.