Katie Taylor edges out Natasha Jonas in thriller

Katie Taylor believes she showed “the heart of a champion” after defending her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles with a hard-fought victory over old adversary Natasha Jonas at the Manchester Arena.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 12:19 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 2:49 pm

Nearly nine years on from beating Jonas at the London Olympics in an unforgettable quarter-final showdown en route to a historic gold medal, the Irish fighter had to dig deep to keep her status as undisputed champion at 135lbs.

Taylor (18-0 6KOs) stayed busy, using her superior speed to produce several telling flurries, although her Liverpool rival grew into the fight and landed several stinging shots in a bout that displayed women’s boxing at its finest.rill

But Taylor’s experience – this was her 12th world title fight while Jonas had only as many professional fights – was telling in the last couple of rounds and she was given the decision by scores of 96-94, 96-95 and 96-95.

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Katie Taylor celebrates victory. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

“It was definitely a toe-to-toe battle in there,” Taylor said. “I thought I was a bit flat early on, but I dug deep to win the championship rounds.

“I definitely showed the heart of a champion in there and that’s what won me the fight in the end. I’m just delighted to come out of it with the belts and still undefeated – 18-0, onwards and upwards.

Many observers thought this contest warranted top billing ahead of the heavyweight showdown between Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker and the bravery shown by both Taylor and Jonas would have done little to dampen that notion.

“I feel sorry for the main event coming out after that fight,” Taylor added minutes before the headliner. “It was a thrilling fight.”

Meanwhile, Belfast’s James Tennyson suffered a shock first-round defeat in his IBO lightweight world title fight against Jovanni Straffon.

Tennyson was knocked down by the Mexicn and narrowly survived the count. The was then stopped seconds later when he was caught with a big left hook following a heavy exchange.

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