Taylor dominates Gutierrez, Harper stops Thanderz to retain belts

Em0dTH8XcAE OL0.0 - Taylor dominates Gutierrez, Harper stops Thanderz to retain beltsMatchroom Boxing

Katie Taylor and Terri Harper were dominant in world title defenses today in London.

Katie Taylor successfully defended her undisputed lightweight championship today with a dominant decision win over Miriam Gutierrez, basically shutting out the Spanish challenger on scores of 99-91, 100-90, and 100-89. Bad Left Hook had the fight 100-89 for Taylor, who retains the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO belts.

Taylor (17-0, 6 KO) did look to “make a statement” here, did look for a stoppage, but the 37-year-old Gutierrez (13-1, 5 KO) was simply tough as nails, and never gave up on the fight despite being out-classed. Gutierrez had never been in near this level, only turned pro in 2017, and gave this fight everything she could. She was extremely game.

That said, Taylor started fast in the first, looking for an early stoppage, had Gutierrez hurt clearly in the third, dropped Gutierrez late in the fourth, and really stormed trying to finish in the sixth. But Gutierrez, to her credit, stood up to all of it, and can say she went 10 rounds with arguably the best women’s boxer to ever do it.

Taylor gave Gutierrez credit for the performance, too, and admitted she did indeed try to get Gutierrez out.

“She was very durable, obviously bigger and stronger than I was. I couldn’t get her out, but overall it was a great performance,” Taylor said after the fight. “I never go into any fight complacent. She was actually very, very heavy-handed. When you go in complacent, that’s when you can get upset by those girls.”

“I thought I could get her out in the first, but how wrong I was,” Taylor added with a laugh. “She was very strong, very durable. I caught her with some great shots, but credit to her, she’s very, very tough, and it was a great fight.”

Asked about who Taylor could fight next, promoter Eddie Hearn threw out several names, including Amanda Serrano — whom Taylor’s trainer said would need to stop “ducking” the fight — and options from different weight classes, including the McCaskill-Braekhus 2 winner for undisputed at welterweight, which would probably be a catchweight fight; Chantelle Cameron once/if Cameron is undisputed at 140; Terri Harper coming up from 130, or Mikaela Mayer or Tasha Jonas doing the same.

“There isn’t anyone she wouldn’t fight,” Hearn said.

Terri Harper TKO-9 Katharina Thanderz

Em0Uoj1W4AA5MlH - Taylor dominates Gutierrez, Harper stops Thanderz to retain beltsMatchroom Boxing

This version of Harper (11-0-1, 6 KO) was notably better than the one we saw in August, when Harper went to a highly-disputed draw with Tasha Jonas. Thanderz (13-1, 2 KO) may not be quite as good as a switched-on Jonas was, mind you, but this was a dominant performance, and Harper retains her WBC 130-pound title in style, winning every round on our card before hurting Thanderz with body shots and forcing the referee to step in at 1:12 of the ninth.

Harper, 24, said she hurt her hand in the fourth round, but you never really would have noticed just watching the fight live, as it didn’t seem to bother her much. She jabbed more, but she also jabbed so effectively that it would have been odd to not see her keep at it. She made changes in camp heading into this fight after the scare with Jonas, including adding a strength and conditioning coach, and all of that speaks well to her perspective on what happened in that fight. She knew it was close at best, knew it was debatable, and knew she had to work to be better. And she did.

“I just stuck to the game plan. I listened to everything (my trainer) said when I went back to my corner, and we just changed it up a bit and I got the win,” Harper said.

Promoter Eddie Hearn is looking to do a unification next, he said. Matchroom have Maiva Hamadouche (IBF) and Hyun-Mi Choi (WBA) under contract, so either of those could be easy to make, and there’s also Mikaela Mayer (WBO), who badly wants Harper and has called her the division’s weak link among the titlists.

Rachel Ball UD-10 Jorgelina Guanini

Em0J U1XcAQwHs0 - Taylor dominates Gutierrez, Harper stops Thanderz to retain beltsMatchroom Boxing

This was originally meant to be for the vacant WBA title at 122, then Ebanie Bridges pulled out of the fight, and Ball was then tasked with facing Argentina’s Guanini on short notice, now for the interim WBC title. Guanini holds the IBF 115-pound title, but then didn’t make weight at 122 on short notice, so only Ball could win the vacant interim belt.

And she did, taking scores of 99-91, 99-91, and 99-92 from the judges. BLH had it a tighter 96-94 for Ball (7-1, 1 KO), who had some trouble early with the skill and frankly the short stature of Guanini (9-2-2, 1 KO). But it was one of those fights where early on, it was kind of picking what you liked best, and down the stretch Ball seemed to really take over as Guanini appeared to tire out a good bit.

For the 29-year-old Ball, it’s a big win that puts her in line for the full WBC title, currently held by Mexico’s Yamileth Mercado, or she could look back to the vacant WBA fight with Ebanie Bridges next, as that should in theory still be on the table.

“I want to get the WBA. I’m happy to fight Bridges and do that fight early next year, but whatever,” Ball said. “I want to be at world title level, I don’t want to start picking and choosing.”

Undercard Results

Emz9OAQW4AoDnrG - Taylor dominates Gutierrez, Harper stops Thanderz to retain beltsMatchroom Boxing
  • Jack Cullen UD-10 John Docherty: A minor upset here, as Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KO) overcame a first round flash knockdown to come back and take the 10-round decision over the previously unbeaten Docherty (9-1, 7 KO) in a British title eliminator at 168 pounds. Scores were 95-94, 96-94, and 96-94, while BLH also had it 95-94 for Cullen, six rounds to four in his favor. “Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver” has been in pretty tough of late on the domestic level, and you have to like seeing such a game, willing fighter as he is get a win in a fight like this. At 27, he is almost surely going to top out at domestic title level, but that’s not a bad career at all. Docherty, 23, can only learn from this, but he’s young and should be able to do just that. It’s a loss, but not a horrible loss for the Scottish fighter, and he fought through some exhaustion late and stood in there even when Cullen was really giving him the business. Docherty also had a cut near the right eye that troubled him at points, but his corner did well to contain it and Docherty showed grit just fighting through it. Good fight.
  • Kash Farooq UD-10 Angel Aviles: A non-competitive return for Farooq. Credit to Aviles (20-6-1, 6 KO) for his toughness, he took a lot of good, clean shots from Farooq (14-1, 6 KO), but the Mexican was never really in this one. He was clearly slow and over-matched, but he also didn’t make weight and looked notably bigger than Farooq in some ways, which may have helped him soak up osme shots. Aviles came in on an eight-fight win streak of no great consequence, but that didn’t help him. But it’s a fight for Farooq, who hadn’t fought in a year, and needed to get a fight in. The fight served a purpose that way. Scores were 99-91, 100-91, and 100-90, with one judge stretching to give Aviles a round and another stretching to give him a share of one. BLH had it 100-90, as it was clearly a 10-0 shutout.

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