Terri Harper’s world title unification fight faces being pushed back after the WBC super featherweight was told she was needed surgery on her right hand.
Eddie Hearn wants to involve Harper in a unification tournament, after signing two other world champions in the division, while he also has similar plans for Chantelle Cameron, whom he wants to clean up the super-lightweight division in three fights before setting up a potential fight with Katie Taylor, the undisputed world lightweight champion.
Harper broke her hand in the fourth round of her title defence against Katharina Thanderz at Wembley on Saturday night.
After suffering the injury, she did not use the right hand for the next four rounds, until she hurt Thanderz with a left hook to the body in the ninth and she used her right again the follow up as she forced the stoppage.
The break was confirmed by an x-ray in hospital that night, but it also showed that the bone had been displaced, meaning she will need surgery.
The original plan was for Harper to return in March, with a unification fight against South Korea’s WBA champion Hyun Mi Choi, who signed with Hearn’s Matchroom group next week. That is now likely to be delayed until April.
Despite that it should still be an exciting year for Harper, who, having fulfilled her mandatory commitment by beating Thanderz could face back-to-back unification fights, with the IBF champion, Maiva Hamadouche, from France, also now under contract with Matchroom.
Another name who could feature in the titles shake-up is Natasha Jonas, who drew with Harper in August, while Hearn is also keen to involve WBO champion, Mikaela Mayer, although she is signed to Top Rank.
“I want to try to get every division in women’s boxing undisputed,” Hearn said. “The sport is not big enough to have four world champions, although the only division that is good enough is super featherweight.
“Mayer is great, Harper is great and we also have Cho and Hamadouche. Those are four credible champions.”
There are also ambitious plans for Cameron, who recently won the WBC super-lightweight title.
“I want her to fight Mary McGee (the IBF champion), Kali Reis (the WBA champion) Christina Linardatou (the WBO champion), all back to back and then fight Katie,” Hearn said.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.