The Dubliner saw her strawweight title fight with Spaniard Catalina Diaz waved off in the fifth round at the Pabellón de Cotos Monterrey in the Madrid suburb of Venturada.
Harvey looked strong and certainly jarred her Cadiz opponent, but the quick and skillful Diaz was able to land repeated clean shots, dropping the Kilbarrack fighter in the third and hurting her again in the fifth to force the stoppage.
The 38-year-old pushed hard and went out on her shield, with Diaz – who had looked beatable beforehand – being just too good.
For Harvey, the fight came following a rocky journey in the pros. A sensational debut in 2015 gave way to 12 months of inactivity before a loss to the much-larger Mary Romero, a PBK fighter and a result which perhaps helped her get this opportunity.
2017 would be brighter, with three wins in quick succession before Harvey, disillusioned, retired. Returning in 2018, Harvey eventually got back in the ring in November and then jumped at this opportunity.
Diaz turned pro in 2017, moving quickly to 3-0 before losing to countrywoman Yolanda Ramos over eight. An away corner fight in Poland last September followed where she was beaten by Ewelina Pekalska before scoring a good win over Joana Suarez to set up this clash.
‘The PacWoman’, like Harvey, was an Elite National champion in the amateurs at light flyweight [48kg] and was fighting inside the at the strawweight/minnimumweight limit [47.6kg] for the first time here. Indeed, the Spaniard came in half a kilo lighter.
Harvey was bang on the limit and looked the bigger and the stronger at the weigh-in and things looked encouraging in the opener.
Taking centre ring, Harvey landed with nice jabs and pressed the action, with the fast-handed Diaz having to work hard to keep ‘The Hunter’ off her.
Right before the bell to end the first, Harvey landed a straight right that staggered Diaz and she would look to land this from the of in the second. The Spaniard, though, boxed smart and roused the crowd with a nice flurry and plenty of counters – and looked to be the more talented technically of the two – but Harvey was looking dangerous whenever she landed.
Diaz had sustained damage under her eye by the third as the fight became increasingly open. Harvey sought to trade and this seemed to be to her advantage but Diaz was able to land countless clean shots and eventually caught her square with a counter that put the Irishwoman down for the first time in her career. Up quickly, the bell would come at the perfect time for Harvey.
Thing were tighter in the fourth but Harvey was still getting caught with wide eye-catching shots coming forward and she would completely unravelled in the fifth, being staggered by a straight right counter and, as Diaz unleashed a hail of punches in the corner, the fight would be waved off.
The disappointing defeat sees Harvey drop to 5(4)-2(1) while Diaz improves to 5(1)-2(0) and now looks set for a fight with countrywoman, stablemate, and IBF world champion Joana Pastrana [15(5)-1(0)].
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography