Natasha Jonas says her boxing journey does not revolve around Katie Taylor, but admits a big rivalry will boost the profile of women’s boxing.
Jonas is keen to prove herself, without fielding questions of a future bout against the WBA lightweight champion, ahead of her fight with Karina Kopinska on this Sunday’s JD NXTGEN bill, live on Sky Sports.
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As a former Team GB boxer, Jonas enjoyed a healthy rivalry with Ireland’s Taylor, involving a memorable clash at London 2012, ending in victory for the eventual gold medallist.
But Jonas told Sky Sports, “My journey in boxing is not all centred around Katie Taylor. I think people are getting lost. I’m not just boxing to box Katie Taylor. I’m boxing because I want to box and be the best I want to be.
“It just so happens that it was a good fight in the Olympics and it’s a fight that people want to see, so people are always going to compare us.”
Although Jonas downplays a future clash with Taylor, she reiterates the importance of creating big rivalries within women’s boxing.
“Like the men, women’s boxing needs rivalries,” she said: “We need to put on big shows, we need the exposure, we need the talent and we need the big fights.
“George Groves at the weekend and Chris Eubank Jr, it built a big rivalry. It built a big split between people, but it was a fight that people wanted to see. Women’s boxing needs that.”
As one of the most recognisable faces leading the charge for women’s boxing, Jonas insists that she never appreciated the impact and responsibilities of being a female boxer.
“It’s now only looking back, then you think wow, I did do that. To me, I’m just a woman, who boxes, but obviously there are little girls that watch that and will say ‘yeah I want to go to the gym on Monday,’ and they did. They enjoyed it, they stayed and they competed in it. It’s brilliant.”
Kopinska, a former opponent of Taylor’s, stands in the way of any future plans for Jonas, who will focus purely on controlling her own fate.
Jonas marked her pro debut with a swift stoppage of Monika Antonik
“I just want to concentrate on what I’m doing,” she said. “I’m just going to do what I do. If I transfer a smidgen of what I do in sparring then I’ll be happy.”
Watch Natasha Jonas against Karina Kopinska on this Sunday’s JD NXTGEN bill, topped by Lewis Ritson’s British title fight with Joe Murray, starting at 7pm on Sunday March 25, live on Sky Sports Action.