Terri Harper and her team believe governing bodies need to reform the regulations around female boxers making weight for fights.
Britain’s WBC super-featherweight champion says she has to track her menstrual cycle carefully during camp – and that check weights before world title fights are also an issue.
“Before, we used to wing it,” Harper told BBC Look North. “I didn’t know much about my menstrual cycle and what effect that can have on my weight and how I perform in the gym.”
The WBC requires check weights before their world-title fights, but according to Harper’s team, those are designed for men.
Harper works with strength and conditioning coach Danny Wilson and nutritionist Lee Rickards at South Yorkshire-based facility Boxing Science to prepare for her fights.
She added: “I have to track my menstrual cycle.
“Before fight camp starts, I’ll go through it with Danny and go through which weeks it’s due to start.
“Danny will then put a structure in place where we have de-load [recovery] weeks and we’ll have weeks where we really push on and try to push for personal bests. Everything has got planning behind it.”
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Shannon Courtenay lost her WBA bantamweight belt on the scales in early October after failing to make weight for her title defence against Jamie Mitchell.
Courtenay missed weight by 2.5lb when her menstrual cycle began during fight week and revealed she had previously gone three years without having her period.
Harper, 24, is 11-0-1 in her pro career and beat Eva Wahlstrom in 2020 to claim the WBC belt, with her team explaining Harper’s weight, total body water and menstrual cycle had to be factored into training regimes.
Nutritionist Rickards said that making the check weights required by the WBC can be harmful to female fighters.
“We [have to keep] track of her weight but also her menstrual cycle as well because water shifts depending on where she is at in her cycle,” he said.
“The final four weeks of a fight is when training’s at the highest so to make those check weights sometimes you have to lower calories to a level which is below the reported guidelines, which is going to be detrimental to women’s health.”