Katie Taylor proves to be too good for Natasha Jonas once again as Irish fighter retains her world lightweight belts after coming through a thriller in Manchester on a narrow points win
- Katie Taylor retained her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight belts on Saturday
- She claimed a narrow points win over Natasha Jonas in a thriller in Manchester
- It came nearly nine years on from their memorable Olympic clash in London
- Taylor won en route to Olympic gold and the Irish fighter prevailed again here
She has beaten her in Bulgaria and London and now in Manchester, too.
In the deafening noise of an Olympic cauldron and in the silence of the Covid era, Katie Taylor has proven just a fraction too fast and too good for Natasha Jonas, but what a close-run thing. And what a brilliant fight.
It truly was, with Taylor edging this battle of old rivals by a score of 96-94 on one card and 96-95 on two others. It was probably fair, and it was certainly indicative of a brutally tight contest.
Katie Taylor poses with Eddie Hearn and her belts after defeating Natasha Jonas in Manchester
The Irish fighter claimed a narrow points win over a familiar foe in a thriller in Manchester
You have to go back 10 years to their first fight in the amateurs, and nine to their ear-splitting quarter-final at London 2012, which put Taylor on a course towards an Olympic gold medal before the dawn of a professional career in which she has lifted women’s boxing to new heights.
She is a marvel of her sport, and indeed the holder of all four lightweight world belts, but she was pushed awfully close at the Manchester Arena.
Jonas, making her second attempt to win a world title, was on a mission. First, in overcoming a slow start to pull even with a couple of rounds to spare, and then in the thrilling exchanges that saw the fight to the finish. Taylor edged them and with it she shaded the fight to go to 18-0, but there was precious little in it.
‘I am just delighted,’ she said of a win and a performance that made a mockery of Chisora-Parker being the main event.
‘What a fight. Every time we fight it is edge of your seat and this was no different. I thought I won the championship rounds and it is a great win. We bring the best out of each other.
Taylor is a marvel of her sport but she was pushed awfully close at the Manchester Arena
Jonas, making her second attempt to win a world title, was on a mission and really impressed
‘Natasha is good enough to win a world title. Her last two performances have shown that. She has everything.
‘You feel sorry for Parker-Chisora following that. It could have been a headliner fight and that shows why.’
Jonas, twice a beaten contender, said: ‘I knew it was close. I want to win belts, I want to be a champion. There were rounds where I gave her too much time to recover but it is all learning. I want to be here at the championship level.’
Taylor looked the better in the opening couple of rounds with those quick hands, but Jonas started to make up ground in the third.
Jonas appeared to be tiring in a scrappy ninth, which was taken by Taylor before a great finish
She took the centre, got some shots off, particularly to Taylor’s body, and then had success off her jab again in the fourth, but the cleaner, sharper work was coming from the opposite direction.
At halfway, the champion was possibly as much as 4-1 ahead, though Jonas pulled one back in the sixth. An accurate straight left gave Jonas a foothold in the seventh before two further hard head shots and some brilliant exchanges. It was developing into a compelling fight.
Jonas opened with a combination in the eighth and edged a trade-off, and conceivably they were level with two sessions remaining. If there was a frustration at this point it was that the rounds were limited to only two minutes a go.
Jonas appeared to be tiring in a scrappy ninth, which was taken by Taylor, who landed a hard right to the mouth, before the frenzy of a final-round tear-up. A brilliant fight.