Natasha Jonas backs up coach's comments ahead of Katie Taylor fight
"You sit there thinking, 'When's it going to be my turn? When's it going to be my turn?'"
For Natasha Jonas, Saturday night in Manchester is her turn.
Jonas, a former WBA super-featherweight champion, lost to Taylor at London 2012 and did not go professional until 2017 but, like the Irish fighter, was quick to tear through opponents.
Her quick-step was knocked off-kilter by Viviane Obenauf in 2018 as the Brazilian, who Taylor had defeated not long after her pro debut in 2016, claimed her WBA belt. The Liverpudlian recovered by winning her next three fights, only to draw with WBC and IBO super-featherweight champion Terri Harper when she got her next glimpse at a title.
Jonas was on commentary duty, back in November, when Taylor beat Miriam Gutierrez, and she managed to talk herself into a shot at the Bray native's undisputed lightweight crown. On Sky Sports, Jonas declared:
"Katie is talking about legacies and especially for people in and around my weight division, she is the big fight and the big haul. She's the one that everyone wants."
With fights against Jessica McCaskill and Amanda Serrano not coming to fruition, and Taylor stating that middleweight supremo Claressa Shields will have to go down to at least 142lbs, Jonas got her wish.
Jonas' coach, Joe Gallagher, came out strong in favour of his charge ahead of the fight and declared there are vulnerabilities to Taylor's defence that can be exploited. Planting a seed about getting a fair deal on the judges' scorecards, he told Sky:
"I think she can be hurt. If people study her long and hard enough, you'll see in fights where she has been hurt. She's been caught, she's been wobbled, she's been stunned."
"There's been question marks over a few Katie Taylor decisions and Natasha Jonas' decision," Gallagher added. "So we want the best judges that the governing bodies have at ringside."
Taylor did score a controversial points win over Delfine Persoon, but she answered any doubters she may have when she comprehensively beat the Belgian in their 2020 rematch.
At a media day in Manchester, on Tuesday, Jonas compared Taylor to some modern day boxing greats but argued she is still confident of bursting the Irish fighter's bubble.
"We were always on a collision course... in 2012 [at the Olympics], hand on heart, Katie Taylor was the only fighter that could have beaten me."
"It's not about weaknesses," she added. "It's about the aura of the fighter. She's like Vasyl Lomachenko or Anthony Joshua. They all have that same aura, and then someone comes along and makes them human. That's just what it was. we always expect such high standards of her, and put her on a pedestal."
As for those 'she can be hurt' comments from her coach, Jonas feels Taylor has been "flustered" and hurt in previous matches, but commentary teams either missed it or 'she masks it well'.
And as for those that feel she is no match for Taylor, the 36-year-old smiles as she delivers her riposte.
"I'm like my little girl, the more you tell me it can't be done, the more I want to do it."