Katie Taylor showcased her grit, determination and resilience in equal measure as she successfully defended her four lightweight belts against Natasha Jonas at the Manchester Arena.
Jonas, who had previously lost to Taylor at the 2012 London Olympics, landed impressive shots throughout and pushed the Irish star all the way, but Taylor’s remarkable punch speed shone through in the end.
The judges scored the contest 96-94 96-95 96095, giving Taylor a unanimous win, but in truth, the contest was even closer than the scoreline suggested.
Boxing analyst Steve Bunce told BBC Radio 5 Live that the two showed “some greatness” and lauded the pair for a fight of such “quality.”
In what will undoubtedly go down as a match of the year contender, here are five things we learned from last night’s bout:
Taylor’s mentality is unrivalled
In two previous fights against the aggressive Delfine Persoon, Taylor showed character and resolve to eventually emerge victorious.
Last night was a similar story. Despite entering the contest as favourite, Jonas demonstrated the better punching power, landing multiple heavy blows that looked to have Taylor on the back foot.
The Irish icon found another gear late on though, winning the deciding rounds to clinch a unanimous decision and stretch her winning record to 18-0.
Speaking to 5 Live after the fight, Taylor said: "I'm just absolutely delighted with the win. I had to dig deep near the end and leave it all in there tonight. I think I showed the heart of a champion tonight."
Jonas has the potential to go far
When the pair last fought in 2012, Jonas was a class below Taylor ability-wise, but last night was clear proof that the 36-year-old has come a long way since then.
Since turning professional in 2017, the British fighter has won nine of her 12 fights, landing seven knockouts, and the knowledge that she can go toe-to-toe with one of the greatest ever will surely give her confidence moving forwards.
She has power, persistence and patience in abundance –– three qualities that any fighter would be lucky to have. There is still room for improvement, but there was more than enough evidence last night to suggest that Jonas will fight for more world titles in the future.
A rematch is needed
Last night’s fight left us with a longing for more and Jonas proved that she is more than deserving of a rematch.
Likewise, Taylor may want to prove that she didn’t get lucky last night and show once and for all that she is the best in the division.
The only disappointment from the first content was the absence of fans and the prospect of a second fight with more hype, more promotion and a sellout stadium is something that all boxing enthusiasts would no doubt love to see.
Two minute rounds are great
There have been calls for women’s boxing to adopt the same format as the men’s and introduce 12 three-minute rounds, compared to 10 two-minute rounds.
This fight, however, proved that the existing structure can be truly captivating from the first minute to the last.
Bunce echoed these thoughts on 5 Live, affirming that: “We've seen some brilliant women's fights but nothing we've seen in a British ring has had that much quality for that long, 20 minutes of 10 rounds of two minutes and not a moment you couldn't watch and learn from.”
Taylor deserves to headline a pay-per-view
The Irish fighter is the biggest name in women’s boxing and her bout with Jonas definitely stole the show last night.
As the undisputed lightweight champion, who has helped put the women’s game on the map, she is a renowned, revered and respected figure across the world and has one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in the sport.
For all Eddie Hearn has done to promote Taylor in recent years, the time has surely come for her to headline a major pay-per-view.
The stage is there, the interest is there and in Jonas, the opponent is there as well –– now it just takes someone bold enough and brave enough to give these women a chance.News Now - Sport News