EXCLUSIVE: Natasha Jonas details comeback from Obenauf defeat to becoming unified champion

“I thought that was the end of it.” Natasha Jonas said of her first career loss, in Cardiff to Viviane Obenauf.

The now unified super-welterweight world champion continued: “It felt like rock bottom. I had to take myself away from the situation. My brother was getting married in Australia, so I went over there for three or four weeks. I thought my career was over.”

Jonas, 13-2-1 (8 KOs), suffered a crushing defeat to Obenauf in 2018, when the Olympian had been primed for a showdown with Katie Taylor. 

“I actually came back because I thought something in my amateur career was missing,” Jonas added. “As good as going to the Olympics and all that was, maybe it was an Olympic medal that I felt I deserved that maybe I didn’t get, I couldn’t leave boxing on bad terms again. And when I came back, I felt like I was ready to go.”

Not long after the defeat in Cardiff, there was a public fall-out between Jonas’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, and her trainer Joe Gallagher.

“I fought on a couple of shows in Liverpool and had a comeback fight on a Matchroom show, after that I wasn’t contracted to them,” Jonas said. “Then lockdown hit. Terri Harper could only really fight me because the borders were closed.”

Jonas shared the spoils with Terri Harper for the WBC super-featherweight world title in a majority-decision draw, and many believed Jonas had done enough to win. A shot at Taylor followed.

“I’ve seen it in the amateurs,” Jonas explained. “It happens a million times, that you think you won and you don’t win. I was disappointed after Harper, but when the decision is gone, it is gone. You can’t change it, no point whinging and crying about it.

Jonas lost to Taylor by a razor thin decision nearly two years ago, but has regained the trust from British boxing fans. Enter Boxxer and Sky Sports, and Jonas picked up her first world title – at 154lbs, going on to unify the division in just nine months. 

“The biggest emotion I felt was relief,” she explained. “It was a third world title shot at a third weight. A lot of people were moving towards Katie’s division because she’s the Canelo of woman’s boxing, everyone is chasing the payday. So, at super-welter I didn’t have to wait too long for a shot.”

“No disrespect to Matchroom, but I always felt like I was the away fighter. Now I’m the home fighter, they support me and get me fights.”

Talk has steered towards a dust up with American star Claressa Shields, but Jonas quickly dismissed the prospect of it happening anytime soon.

“It’s done [over],” she went on. “We just couldn’t agree on terms. Her purse was already agreed, but, to be honest, the offer I got to fight Claressa was not much bigger than I got to fight Terri Harper. To me personally the Claressa fight is much bigger commercially, internationally and it’s a much bigger risk than the Harper fight. I think that the pay should reflect that.”