30-year-old Natasha Jonas has announced that she is retiring from professional boxing
Liverpudlian Natasha Jonas, the first ever female boxer to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games, has announced that she is retiring from the sport at a professional level.
30-year-old Jonas, who won bronze at the 2012 World Championships and reached the quarter-finals at the London Olympics in the same year, has achieved great things during her boxing career and has helped inspire and further the cause of female boxers in the UK.
A champion for women's boxing, Jonas and her achievements have undeniably contributed to the 56% rise in the number of women boxing in England since the 2012 Olympics; progression which she says are "phenomenal."
Explaining her decision to hang up her gloves, Jonas said: "I don't think I've got the hunger and dedication to achieve any more. […] My mind is wandering to other things, and there's younger people coming through that want it a bit more." The 30-year-old, who has recently suffered from injury, added: “It just felt like the right time to retire. Being away from camp to recover from my recent injury has given me time to think and I just came to the conclusion that I did not want to go back to the demands of full-time training.”
The story of Jonas’s rise to the top is somewhat unconventional. Jonas initially took up the sport in 2005 simply to lose weight, joking that she began the sport as an “overweight.” It was not long, however, before Jonas began climbing through the amateur ranks. By 2012 Jonas found herself competing for Britain alongside Savanah Marshall and gold medallist Nicola Adams at London 2012, having won bronze at the World Championships earlier that year.
Reflecting on her remarkable journey, Jonas, who now intends to move into coaching, said: “When I started boxing 10 years ago I was an overweight, unemployed scally from Toxteth and if you’d have told me then that I would win a world championship medal and compete in front of 10,000 people at the Olympic Games I would never have believed it, so I am very proud to have achieved those things and done so well in the sport.”
Although Jonas did not win a medal at London 2012 she has described participating at the games, in her home country, as a "wildest dream come true." "London 2012 will never be matched, it was surreal. I remember saying to my mum when I was four and watching the Olympics on the TV: 'Mum, mum, I'm gonna be there' […] It took me 24 years but I still achieved it."
At the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Jonas was favourite to win gold but she suffered a foot injury and lost her opening fight to
Australian boxer Shelley Watts.
Jonas will certainly be missed by many for who she was a pioneer, role model and inspiration. Fellow female British boxer Nicola Adams said of her team-mate: “I have trained, competed and travelled all over the world with Natasha for the last five years so will be really sad to see her leave.” She added, “Over the years she has been a brilliant campaigner for the sport and has done so much to progress women’s boxing in this country. […] She will be missed by all of the team.”