Home Boxing News Natasha Jonas out to prove a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter

Natasha Jonas out to prove a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter

Natasha Jonas. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA

IBF welterweight champion Natasha Jonas 14-2-1 (9) is embracing the pressure of fighting in her hometown ahead of her clash against Mikaela Mayer 19-1 (5) at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England on Saturday night.

The 39-year-old southpaw, who previously held the WBC, WBO and IBF junior middleweight titles, will be making the first defence of the vacant welterweight belt she won with an eighth-round knockout of Kandi Wyatt 11-5 (3) in Manchester last July.

American Mayer, 33, previously held the WBO and IBF super featherweight titles before losing those belts in a four-belt unification bout against Alycia Baumgardner 15-1 (7) by split decision in London in October 2022.

The Ring magazine ranks Jonas number seven in their female pound-for-pound list, with Mayer sitting at number 10.

“That’s the motivation, that’s the drive. For me to be saying I’m one of the best pound-for-pound and move myself up that list, I have to be beating people in that list and that’s what she is. That’s what she brings,” Jonas told Sky Sports.

“Sometimes I feel I need that fear factor to bring out the best in me.

“We’ve seen it against [Terri] Harper and we’ve seen it against Katie Taylor and we’ve seen it in other fights; [Marie Eve] Dicaire, [Patricia] Berghult and [Chris] Namus, where you’re not always 100% going to win and I do think that brings out the best in me and the best performances.

“Mikaela definitely gives me that fear factor. I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to be in my hometown losing to her, or to anyone.

“There’s always pressure every time we step into the ring, no matter where it is.

“Being on some of the biggest stages, the Olympics and wherever else, the chief support to Amir Khan, I always put pressure on myself because I want to perform no matter where I am.

“Obviously hometown adds a little bit more but it’s still the same thing. It’s no different to any other boxing match in how I approach it and the training that goes into it. It’s boxing. And it’s another fight.

“Once I got that Namus result and I got that win, I felt like a big stress and pressure was just lifted off my shoulders and I went back to enjoying boxing.

“People have been saying your last few performances have been your best and that’s because I’m not carrying that burden of trying to be a world champion.

“Now I’m more like let’s go back to enjoying the boxing. I proved to myself more than anyone else that I can be at that world level now everything else that comes with it, it’s a bonus.

“Boxing’s too hard of a sport, more mentally than physically, to not enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, that will show as well.”