BN Fight Facts: Natasha Jonas scrapes by Mikaela Mayer in a close and entertaining fight in Liverpool

THE RESULT: Benefitting perhaps from being at home, the popular Natasha Jonas retained her IBF welterweight title with a 10-round split decision over Mikaela Mayer tonight (January 20) in Liverpool. A fight full of frenetic exchanges and shifts in momentum, Jonas started well, struggled somewhat in the middle rounds, and then came on strong again in the final two, which ultimately gave her the edge over Mayer by scores of 96-94 and 96-95, with one judge going for Mayer by 97-93.

KEY MOMENTS: Rather than a fight of key moments, or dramatic flashpoints, Jonas vs. Mayer was instead interesting on account of it being full of action and consistent back-and-forth exchanges. If pushed to be specific, though, a left hook to the body-left hook to the head combination from Mayer in round four caught the eye, as did a good left uppercut to the body from Jonas in round five. In addition to this, there were big shots landed by both in the final couple of rounds, including a solid left hook from Mayer in the last, with both fighters keen to do all they could to sway the judges.

RECORDS: The 39-year-old Jonas’ record now stands at 15-2-1 (9), while Mayer, 33, falls to 19-2 (5).

TALKING POINT: It has to be said, Jonas vs. Mayer got off to a very weird start. For one, national anthems were for some reason being sung – why? – and then, to make matters weirder, both anthems, the British and the American one, were booed by fans in the arena; apparently British fans don’t like the American anthem and Scousers don’t like the British anthem. Anyway, some consolation was the appearance of Jane Couch, who walked Natasha Jonas to the ring, and also the fight itself, which more than delivered in terms of two-way action.

QUOTABLE: “We always knew it was going to be (a great fight),” said Jonas. “I know this girl here (Mayer) is going to be absolutely devastated with that result – I’ve been there – but she is one of the top two people I’ve fought. She is a very skilled operator and will go on to become a two-weight champion. I said it from the start, that little bit of fear factor brings out the best in me.” As for what got her the nod on the cards, Jonas said: “I think a good start, harder, cleaner shots, and I came on strong at the end.”

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? “This is probably my last year in boxing and we want to make it the best chapter of the book,” said Jonas, who, if looking for another big-name opponent, could end up fighting Mayer again fairly soon. Mayer certainly seemed interested in running it back when speaking to Andy Scott in the ring after the fight. “I feel like I deserve it, and I think the fans deserve it,” said the American. “I think rematches should only happen if they warrant it and I think this fight does. I’d love to do it again.”

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