Boxing

Katie Taylor foe Natasha Jonas promises fireworks in Manchester lightweight title showdown

Katie Taylor in relaxed mood ahead of Saturday night's fight with Natasha Jonas in Manchester. Picture: Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing
Andy Watters

NATASHA Jonas is predicting “fireworks” when she challenges undisputed women’s lightweight champion Katie Taylor at Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

The contest is a professional rematch of the deafening ‘barn-burner’ between the two at the London Olympic Games in 2012 which Taylor won convincingly over four all-action rounds and, nine years’ later, Jonas insists that “the pain of losing” is the only thing that she remembers from that contest.

She insists that she’ll settle the score in this weekend’s second helping.

“In 2012 I honestly believed, hand on heart, that Katie Taylor was the only person who could beat me,” said Jonas.

“I had come out of the World Championships on a different level, on a different high after getting a bronze medal and I believed in how good I was.

“I’ve always wanted to fight her again but our paths have never crossed since and it just so happens that it’s now. You have to take your opportunities when they come and there’s not really much that we can take from that fight because it was nine years ago and we’re two different people, two different boxers, now.”

Jonas’s coach, Joe Gallagher, has made comments about the weaknesses he sees in Taylor’s armour after watching her fights with Delfine Persoon. Of course, Gallagher also spotted ‘weaknesses’ in Carl Frampton when his fighter Scott Quigg took on ‘the Jackal’ but Frampton was a comfortable winner on the night.

“I don’t think it’s about weaknesses, I just think that it’s the aura of the boxer that she is,” said Jonas.

“We always expect such high standards from her, we put her on a pedestal and then someone comes along and proves that they are just like any other boxer – they have got flaws, they have got weaknesses and they are human and make mistakes.

“I don’t take too much from the Persoon fights because I’m not Persoon and I don’t box like that. I think Persoon is a tough fight for anybody – her workrate is very high, her skillset is not as high as others but she makes up for it with hard work and determination.”

Last time out, Jonas drew with WBC and IBF super-featherweight champion Terri Harper in London. Stepping up to lightweight to take on the undisputed champion is asking a great deal but she insists that she can cause a massive upset.

“On Saturday both of us will put on a good performance and a good show for the fans that are watching,” she said.

“We’ve just got styles that gel and there’s gonna be fireworks and the best version of me versus the best version of Katie... What is there not to like?"

Although they have fought before, Jonas is just the second southpaw that Taylor has faced as a professional. It’s absolutely no surprise that the dedicated Bray native has had some “outstanding southpaw sparring” during her training camp.

“It’s not an issue,” she said.

“I feel in good shape and I’m ready to go. I’m not thinking of retirement as of yet but obviously I can’t do this forever and I know that. I only have a few years left in the sport but right now I feel very fresh and I still love my job and that’s what motivates me.

“I love being a boxer, I’m not tired of getting up in the mornings and doing the road runs! I want to continue to improve, it would be amazing to be a multiple weight undisputed champion if that’s a possibility. I want to be involved in the biggest fights possible and I want to continue to tear down those barriers.”

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