Katie Taylor remains undefeated, she remains the undisputed queen of the lightweight, but the Irish icon was pushed to her absolute limit by Natasha Jonas in a captivating 10-round contest.
A close Razors decision, which saw Taylor triumph (96-94, 96-95, 96-95) on the cards, deserved a boisterous crowd in Manchester as both women displayed immense desire alongside their skills, each turn providing feedback and fourth action.
Taylor’s 12th consecutive world title fight, with his belt quartet on the line in a 2012 Olympic competition rematch, was one of his most thrilling to date thanks to the arsenal of blows and force. of Liverpudlian’s challenger to last the entire distance.
The fight caught fire as soon as the bell opened, with an intense opening bringing the two women close enough to fit in a phone booth. But it was Taylor’s speed and subtle movement that led her to take the initiative.
But the margins for error were obviously slim, as Taylor sank in with his head in the second round, grazing Jonas’ forehead to elicit a cry of protest.
Despite Taylor’s busy approach, Jonas rallied quickly, unloading the heaviest shots in the third, with a thud left behind his clever southpaw jab.
This prompted Jonas’ coach Joe Gallagher, who shouted: “She’s everywhere, Tasha”.
Boxing is always at its best when styles go well, and this was a prime example where one of Taylor’s strengths, his eagerness to get out early and take control of trades, played into Jonas’ hands, giving him opportunities, with the 36-year-old finding his composure to counter beautifully.
Jonas also began to sit on his shots in the seventh, sliding to the right and digging towards the body, but Taylor incredibly persevered with the exit rarely diminishing.
Belief was growing in the challenger’s corner, however, as uncertainty grew as to how the judges might interpret the contest.
And while Taylor’s class has been apparent for years, it’s his tenacity that shone here. It deserved a roaring crowd in recognition, but the quality exchanges, at the heart of the fight, sparked louder and louder cries from every corner.
The two women’s variety of shots kept each of the guesses: Jonas turned to the upercut late as Taylor found a home for the left hook alongside a straight manual.
With the fight up for grabs in the final two rounds of this contest, Taylor found a crucial second wind, which ultimately proved vital to the outcome of the fight. A flurry of blows closed the ninth and 10th laps.
She needed it, too, with Jonas committed to the body and stacking the pressure, only for Taylor to nail her to the ropes, unloading the tank when the last bell rang.
A rematch surely awaits down the line, with Taylor subsequently conceding that her rival “has what it takes to win a world tile.” Taylor’s legendary career continues however, this time with his courage and determination to overcome one of his most difficult challenges to date.