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ANTHONY TOMLINSON and Terri Harper will be given the chance to show their potential on Saturday night, as they have both been handed an opportunity on the undercard of Kell Brook’s clash with Michael Zerafa at the Sheffield Arena.
The local stars, who are managed and trained by Stefy Bull, will be looking to build on excellent performances last time out and end 2018 on a high, before they head into 2019 full of confidence and turn their attention to domestic title glory.
Tomlinson has already had a taste of title success, picking up the Central Area welterweight crown in September, whilst Harper, who was hugely impressive in her last outing is hoping this will be the last fight before she throws herself into that mix.
Tomlinson told Boxing News: “Being a local lad, I’ve always wanted to fight at the Arena and it feels like I’ve waiting for this day to come for a long time. Now it’s happening, it’s unbelievable and I’m looking forward to putting a show in front of all the people who are coming down to support me.
“Winning the Area title last time out was massive for me and my confidence is so high now. I had two people pull out of the fight and I took an undefeated lad on short notice, who I didn’t know much about. To do the job on him that I did, shows how much potential I have and I’m ready to test my skills on the big stage.”
Harper added: “This is what we are in the sport for and I’m so delighted that Stefy has got me this chance. I was really happy with my last fight, although I don’t actually think that I got out of first or second gear, which shows I haven’t shown anyone what I can truly do yet.
“I had a good amateur career, where I won three junior national titles and a European junior silver in Poland, but I feel that I have settled in now as a pro and my style has adapted for the better since I turned over. I’ve matured and I’m making massive improvements all the time, so I’m ready to impress and show this is where I belong.”
Tomlinson, now 8-0, has spent time preparing for this fight in Fuerteventura as part of Kell Brook’s camp, sparring with the former IBF welterweight champion numerous times. He claims the experience has opened his eyes to a champion’s lifestyle and only ignited his ambition to one day hit that pinnacle in boxing.
“The Truth” said: “It was amazing to be asked to go out to Kell’s camp and it really showed me what it takes to reach that next level. Having been out there, in that climate and working alongside Kell has made me understand the lifestyle of a champion and how hard you have to work to get there. It’s made me want this even more.
“Boxing is my life. It’s all I do. I’m not that big a fan of the sport, I dip in and out actually, as I’m only worried about myself. I’m not obsessed with any other fighter, as they can’t do it for me and I want to set my own legacy. You could stand me next to a famous fighter and I probably wouldn’t know who they were a lot of the time. I’m focused on myself and I’ve gone under the radar so far, but after Saturday I don’t want that to be the case.”
As for Harper, she becomes the latest addition to a burgeoning women’s scene in the UK and the 22-year-old lightweight, who moved to 4-0 in October, believes that women’s boxing will only continue to grow in this country, as the successes continue.
She said: “Women’s boxing is now being exposed to a much wider audience and I’m looking forward to showing what I can do. At the moment it’s mainly the girls who were on the GB squad leading the way, with the likes of Nicola Adams and Chantelle Cameron, but there are even more coming through now, including myself.
“My idol is Katie Taylor, who is untouchable at the moment, like she was for pretty much all her amateur career. I love to see her up close and soak up that atmosphere, as she is so important for all the female boxers and if I can achieve even a little bit of what she has achieved I’ll be so proud.”
Both prospects are being guided by Bull, who has experienced all aspects of the sport, from fighting on big bills to leading fighters, such as Gavin McDonnell, into high pressure world title fights, and he has high hopes for both of them.
Bull said: “They both have big futures, as well as the potential to rise to the occasion and really impress on Saturday. Anthony has raw power and is heavy handed, so he’s exciting to watch. He reminds me of the old Ingle fighters, who are very unpredictable and awkward, so I’m certain he’ll do well.
“As for Terri, she has real star quality. She is arguably the most naturally gifted that I have ever worked with. She will deliver the goods at every level and I’m confident that she will be a world champion. She is the future of women’s boxing in the UK.”