“Give it your all, you’ve only got one life so do something that you love to do.”
These were the words of Terri Harper, South Yorkshire’s first professional female boxer, speaking on the cusp of her debut fight at the Doncaster Dome on Saturday.
The 21-year-old spoke with bullishness, but with the sort of maturity which will hopefully stand her in good stead for a successful and prolonged career in the ring.
Harper, who took up boxing at the age of 11, attributes some of her success to training alongside men in her youth, saying: “There haven’t been many females in the gym. Turning professional and fighting alongside men, it’s what I’m used to.”
Harper put herself on the boxing map when she won a European Championship silver medal in 2012, which catching the eye of her now promoter and manager Stefy Bull:
“A few months back [he] messaged me seeing if I wanted to go pro and I said ‘yeah’ and jumped straight on it. It was something I was thinking about anyway,” says Harper.
The most striking thing about Harper is how grounded she is. She is currently studying Sports Coaching at Sheffield Hallam University, whilst still playing football and basketball. There is no doubt she wants to be the most rounded sportswoman she can possibly be.
There also appears to be a strong family element to her motivation, hoping to make her grandmother proud after her fight on Saturday.
Her final message was simple: “I hope to be having world title fights. Become a champion.”
With the whole of South Yorkshire behind her on Saturday, the sky really is the limit.