Sandy Ryan Halts Terri Harper After Four Rounds, Defends WBO 147-Pound Title

Sandy Ryan (Left) and Terri Harper face off ahead of their March 23 WBO welterweight title fight in Sheffield, England. (Photo credit: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing)

Sandy Ryan lived up to her pre-fight promise of an early night in the ring.

An all-British showdown saw Ryan overwhelm two-division titlist Terri Harper to defend her WBO welterweight title. The one-sided affair was stopped by Harper’s corner after four rounds Saturday evening at Utilita Arena in Sheffield, England.

The fight came after Ryan internally cleaned house. Saturday’s title defense was her first under new trainer Kay Koroma and manager Brian Peters, as she largely trained at DLX Boxing Gym in Las Vegas.

All of the moves were made after her ten-round draw with RING 147-pound champ Jessica McCaskill last September in Orlando, Florida. Many viewers considered Ryan unlucky to not get the nod in their Ring, WBA, WBC and WBO unification bout.

Still, it was clear that something was missing, as recognized by Ryan. Immediate effects were evident, between the change in personnel and prior work with two-division RING champion Katie Taylor last fall.

Harper came down from 154, where she is The Ring No. 1-rated contender and still holds the WBA title. It was believed that welterweight would be a truer fit for ‘Belter’, who previously held the WBC 130-pound title. Ryan, No. 3 at 147, disproved that theory as she was the far more potent puncher.

The only concern in Ryan’s corner was her early inability to settle down. Harper, who hails from nearby Denaby Main, was tagged with clean power shots in the second. Ryan was a bit wild in the follow-up, as she was told by her new training team in between rounds.

Ryan landed in combination throughout the third round and managed to stagger Harper. The mid-round scare did not result in a knockdown, though Harper found herself in a deep hole with no signs of turning around the fight.

More of the same occurred in the fourth round. Harper was never able to make her present felt, while Ryan only continued to grow stronger with each combination.

Harper’s facial expression told the tale as she made her way back to the corner after the fourth round. A brief conversation with her manager/trainer was enough to produce the end of the fight.

The setback marked the second straight bout where Harper (14-2-2, 6 knockouts) failed to produce a win. She was held to a ten-round draw by former undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus in this very venue last October.

Harper’s last victory came in a ten-round decision over late replacement Ivana Habazin last May 27 in Manchester, England. Habazin was brought in one week after Braekhus fell ill on the morning of her planned May 20 challenge of Harper’s WBA 154-pound title.

Ryan advanced to 7-1-1 (3 KOs), while she defended her title for the second time. She won the WBO title in a ten-round, unanimous decision over then-unbeaten Marie Pier Houle last April 27 in Cardiff, Wales.

The hope now is to land a unification bout, or a superfight with former Ring 140-pound queen Chantelle Cameron.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for The Ring and vice president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JakeNDaBox

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