NEW WBA international super-featherweight champion Natasha Jonas might only be six fights deep in her professional career but clearly knows how the game works.
She knows how to fight, just as she knows knockouts and an outgoing personality will attract fans. Most of all, though, Jonas knows that being synonymous with Ireland’s Katie Taylor, one of the biggest stars in women’s boxing, can only pay dividends in the long run.
It’s a fight many have called for since the two of them, former amateur rivals, turned professional. Taylor, the WBA and IBF lightweight champion, got the better of Jonas first time around, when the pair met at the 2012 Olympic Games, but it was a competitive, exciting fight, one many would love to see again, this time over a longer distance without head-guards.
“I think there’s a reason Eddie (Hearn, promoter) signed me, to be honest,” Jonas told Boxing News. “People want to see that fight because of how good it was at the Olympics in 2012. She’s come out recently, or so I saw in our Liverpool Echo, and said, ‘We would be interested in a fight with Tasha.’
“But we’re at different weights at the minute and I can’t ask for the fight with Katie because I bring nothing to the table. Although it’s a sport, we’re talking about a business as well.
“I need to stick to my own weight and get the titles in my own division before I can even think about stepping up and competing with Katie.
“She’s a little bit ahead of me, to be fair. We’re playing catch up.”
A pro for less than a year, Jonas, 33, has already rattled off six victories and distanced herself from others by showing punch power in securing five of those wins by stoppage. She looks for the knockout punch. She chases the finish.
But while this might mean entertainment for fans, it can also sometimes leave Jonas frustrated, as was evident last time out in April, when the Liverpudlian struggled to get to grips with the awkward and ungainly Taoussy L’Hadji.
“When I watched it back, it didn’t look as bad as it felt in there,” she said. “In round five or six I was totally frustrated with myself. I could tell by my body language that I was frustrated, and I remember feeling that way in there.
“From the first shot that landed flush I knew she couldn’t hurt me. I was willing then to take one to give one, as you saw with the finish. That’s not a good thing in boxing. You shouldn’t do that.
“The actual shot that started the finish was one I’d done in round one and two and in that round (the seventh). We have been working on power, so I knew I had the shot there.
“It was just a case of waiting for it to land. But, because she was so awkward, I was trying to force it a bit too much. It annoys me watching it back because I know I’m better than that.”
With a well-timed attack in round seven, Jonas got there in the end.
Similarly, when the time is right, she’ll get Katie Taylor.
*** An in-depth Natasha Jonas feature can be read in this week’s Boxing News (digital May 22, print May 24) ***