By David Charlesworth, PA
Natasha Jonas has waited nine years for a chance at revenge over Katie Taylor, but the pair were in agreement that their memorable fight at the Olympics will have little bearing on this weekend’s showdown.
En route to winning lightweight gold at London 2012, Taylor defeated Jonas in an absorbing quarter-final by a margin of 26-15 in front of a crowd which generated a record 113.7 decibels of noise at the ExCel Arena.
Their amateur headguards have long since been ditched and, with with more rounds and a different scoring system at the professional level, there are few parallels to be drawn between their last meeting and their next one on Saturday.
Jonas told the PA news agency: “It’s a totally different sport, really, and I think we are two completely different boxers from then. She’s not fighting 2012 Tasha Jonas, she’s fighting the 2021 Tasha Jonas.
“It’s the same for me – I’m not fighting that Katie, I’m fighting this Katie. It was a great experience in that time at that present, unfortunately she beat the best version of me at that time but now we’re two different people.”
Taylor has made the switch seamlessly from amateur to professional, becoming the undisputed lightweight champion after hoovering up the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO titles, which she is favourite to retain against Jonas.
Asked whether she has a mental edge over her Liverpool rival, Taylor (17-0, 6KOs) said: “I wouldn’t really draw too much from what happened in the last fight. It’s just a new fight and it’s a brand new day.
“We’re both at the pinnacle of our pro careers, we’re both completely different fighters so it’s going to be a completely different fight.”
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) April 29, 2021
From being among the first females to box at an Olympics to topping cards in world title contests last year, both Taylor and Jonas have been instrumental in shattering stereotypes and bringing women to the forefront of the sport.
Taylor said: “Without the Olympic Games, I don’t think professional women’s boxing would be where it is right now. I feel it’s a lot stronger right now just because we’re all coming through with a strong amateur pedigree.
“Before that 10 years ago we were seeing women’s pro boxing where fighters were learning on the job, they didn’t have a lot of amateur experience and they’re picking these things up later on in their life.
“Nowadays the girls are starting from 10 or 11 years of age and they have a hope of becoming Olympic champion from there, they have a hope to become world champions in the professional ranks.”
While the heavyweight bout between Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker is the headliner of the Manchester Arena pay-per-view, Jonas has been encouraged by those who believe premium billing should have gone to her and Taylor.
Jonas (9-1-1, 7KOs), who boxed to a controversial draw against WBC super-featherweight champion Terri Harper last August, said: “When I saw that a lot of the feedback was ‘why isn’t this topping the bill?’ I was like ‘wow’.
“That just shows how far women’s boxing has come in such a short space of time, because no one is even questioning, ‘It’s women’s boxing, why are they on the card?’ They’re just saying, ‘Why isn’t this fight top of the bill?’
“It goes to prove what we’ve been saying all along that women’s boxing, at its elite and best, is entertaining, is what people want to see and is value for money. It was great to see that and we appreciate the fans for that.”