Natasha Jonas speaks to Boxing News about facing Mikaela Mayer in January, how a fighter combats anxiousness, her reasons for obtaining a manager’s licence, and her exit strategy 

BN: What does the fight against Mikaela Mayer mean to you and how big is it for your career?

NJ: There’s no next fight if I don’t get past Mayer so I’ve got to win. I’m fully focused. I think she’s a great fighter, she brings a lot to the table. She’s a former champion and brings the whole of the USA and got a good amateur pedigree. Katie [Taylor] aside it’s probably one of my toughest fights.

BN: Was it the best possible fight for you next?

NJ: It’s a fight that we both said we wanted. No one made any secret of that. There’s the whole business side of boxing that fans don’t always get. This fight keeps the fans happy, keeps promoters happy, keeps the platform [Sky Sports] happy and keeps me happy. There’s very few fights for me that tick all of them [boxes] but Mikaela Mayer is definitely one of them.

BN: What do you think are some of Mikaela’s strengths?

NJ: Her boxing brain. Her long levers and her footwork. And she’s got good shot selection.

BN: Her only loss is a contentious one against Alycia Baumgardner. Do you think Mayer deserved the win or was it the right result?

NJ: I was doing the commentary for Sky on that day, and I thought she was unlucky. Some rounds were close and it could’ve gone either way. But the way I scored it was Mikaela had won.

BN: When you look back on your own 2023 so far how do you reflect on it?

NJ: It hasn’t been great; it’s been very slow. I expected to be out a lot more and I wanted this [Mayer] fight this side of the New Year instead of rolling into 2024. It wasn’t possible. I’m glad I’ve got it now and got the ball rolling. We’ll have a good 2024 instead.

BN: What was it that prompted you to get your manager’s licence?

It was just to manage myself. I never intended to manage anybody else and then little Mikie [Tallon] came with the opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.

BN: Do you see this as a big part of your future especially once your own career is finished?

NJ: Potentially. At the moment, it’s only Mikie but I’ve being giving advice and helping other boxers out for a very long time and not taking the accolades for it, and I didn’t want it. It was just helping my mates out. It was stuff that was part of a manager role anyway. I was doing the role without actually realising I was doing it.

BN: I spoke to Nathan Heaney recently and asked him how his fanbase helps during a fight. So, with your next fight being in Liverpool at the Echo is that a hindrance or help?

NJ: There’s a fine line between excitement, motivated and anxiousness. As long as it’s in the excited and motivated line it’s good. Once you start becoming anxious then it’s detrimental to your performance. If you’re on it and you’re motivated, then you’re driven. And if you’re excited and on it then you’re in your optimal zone. But then once it creeps over into anxiousness then it becomes a problem, and you start worrying which is not a positive thing.

BN: Has anxiousness crept into any of your fights in the past?

NJ: A little bit with Katie Taylor and a little bit with [Chris] Namus because Namus was really last chance saloon [for me]. It was the third world title at the third different weight and if I didn’t win it there was nowhere else to go. That was pressure.

BN: So, beating Namus meant more than just winning a belt.

NJ: It was relief. Everyone kept on asking me what the first thing was I felt and the first thing I felt was relief. The emotions were One: It’s over and Two: It’s done. I’ve always said everything that comes after Namus is a bonus. So, now I feel all that pressure and stress is gone because I’ve proved that I’m world level. Everything that comes with that is a bonus. My last couple of performances a lot of people have said, “You seem to be getting better” but I think it’s because that pressure and stress is off. And I’m back to enjoying it and relaxing and doing what I can do and what I want to do.

BN: Does that mean you want to extend your career, or have you set yourself a date to call it a day?

NJ: The deal with Boxxer is a three-fight deal. We’ll see what happens after that. If I can get the fights that I want in that deal, then I don’t think there’s any need to extend it.