American former world champion Mikaela Mayer challenges British Natasha Jonas for her IBF welterweight title at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England on Saturday, January 20. The pair squares off in a 10-round main event live on ESPN+.
Colorado Springs-based Mikaela Mayer (19-1, 5 KOs) is coming off a pair of wins by decision against Silvia Bortot and Lucy Wildheart. In addition to landing world title in her second weight class, the 33-year-old former unified super featherweight champion looks to cement her name in boxing history. The native of Woodland Hills, California lost her WBO and IBF 130-pound belts by split decision against Alycia Baumgardner in their fight for the undisputed title in October 2022.
“It’s not just about the belt,” Mikaela Mayer said at the pre-fight press conference. “It’s not just about becoming a world champion again. It’s about challenging myself against the best, having those names on my resume and knowing that I did my absolute best to challenge myself against the other great girls in the sport so that I can truly say I’m a top pound-for-pound fighter of this era. That’s important for my legacy and for my fans because I know that these are the types of fights that they want to see.”
“Natasha has a ton of experience. She has that amateur pedigree. She’s gone up against plenty of different styles. And she’s had to learn how to adjust to those styles. Same with me. That’s why having that pedigree is such an advantage. We both have that.”
“It’s going to be a really strategic fight because she’s a southpaw and I’m orthodox. Obviously, I have a technician in my corner who is big on strategy and big on technique and he has a game plan specifically for that, which I absolutely have to follow if I don’t want to get in trouble after the fight.”
Natasha Jonas: Doors shut quickly in boxing when the results don’t go your way
Riding a five-fight winning streak, Natasha Jonas (14-2-1, 9 KOs) makes the first defense of her IBF welterweight belt that she claimed via eighth-round stoppage against Kandi Wyatt last July. In May 2021, Liverpool’s 39-year-old two-division world champion challenged Ireland’s undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor, but fell short dropping a unanimous decision.
“This is a big statement,” Natasha Jonas said. “We’ve seen so many times that the best don’t fight the best for whatever reason. But I believe that for me to classify myself as one of the best of this era, I have to fight the best. I look at some of the boxers on list, the Katie Taylors and Chantelle Camerons, and they’ve beaten people in the top 10 pound-for-pound list. For me to be able to solidify a legacy for myself, I believe I have to do the same, and Mikaela is on that list.”
“Doors shut quickly in boxing when the results don’t go your way. And we’ve both experienced that now. And none of us want that to happen again. So, to keep those doors open, to keep those opportunities open, and to keep those bigger dreams beyond this alive, I’ve got to focus on what happens on Saturday and make that dream come true.”
“It’s going to be a good fight. We’ve both got the I.Q. and the ability to box. We’ve both got the skill and the strength to fight if we need to. That being said, I think our styles will make a great fight. I’m not going to be a reactive fighter and wait to see what she pulls out the bag. I’m going to be putting on my best foot forward and making her worry about me from the get-go.”
In the 12-round co-main event, Bolton’s Jack Cullen (22-4-1, 10 KOs) faces fellow-Brit Zak Chelli (14-2-1, 7 KOs) of London in a rematch. Their first fight in August 2020 resulted in a split draw. Cullen’s brings to the ring his British and Commonwealth super middleweight straps.
Also on the card, British 2020 Olympic Bronze medallist Karriss Artingstall (5-0, 1 KOs) goes up against Brazilian Lila dos Santos Furtado (9-1, 1 KOs). The bout is scheduled for six rounds at featherweight.
In addition, Aaron McKenna (17-0, 8 KOs) of Ireland takes on Linus Udofia (19-2, 9 KOs) of Nigeria. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds with McKenna’s WBC International middleweight title on the line.