Tasha Jonas was a standout amateur for Great Britain, but her pro career hasn’t quite hit the heights she’s wanted.
On Saturday, at age 37, Jonas makes a bold move up in weight to 154 lbs trying for a third time to win a world title after competitive but ultimately fruitless attempts to win gold at 130 and 135.
“I have done everything, I’ve put my body through hell mentally, physically, emotionally, and I’ll be ready on Saturday night,” she told Sky Sports at today’s Khan-Brook press conference. “I’ve said it before and people don’t believe me, but when it’s come to the big fights on the big nights, I have performed, and I’ll do that again on Saturday.”
Jonas had a stay-busy sort of fight in November at 140 lbs, but is probably naturally meant to be at 130/135. But with Claressa Shields vacating her 154 lb titles to focus on middleweight and an upcoming fight with Savannah Marshall, four belts scattered to the wind, and Jonas was given an opportunity.
She’ll face Uruguay’s Chris Namus (25-6, 8 KO), a 34-year-old who was last out in October, losing a 10-round decision to Ema Kozin, who just lost to Claressa Shields at welterweight. She also lost a world title fight with Marie Eve Dicaire in 2018, unsuccessfully challenged then-welterweight queen Cecilia Braekhus in 2016, and lost a pair of 140 lb title fights in 2011 and 2012. She began her career at 140, and will have some size advantages on Saturday.
Jonas, though, says she put the work in to not just be heavier, but be effectively heavier in the ring.
“I think people just think it’s diet less and eat more, but there’s a lot of science behind it. I’m not just not running anymore. I’ve worked with a nutritionist, I’ve worked with my strength and conditioning coach, I’ve trained at this weight for a good five, six weeks, to get used to it and be comfortable,” she said.
She also doesn’t plan to push the full limit, saying she expects to be about 148 lbs for the fight, but we’ll see at the weigh-in on Friday.
“Jumping two weights proves how dedicated I am to becoming a world champion,” she said, noting that she plans to use her smarts and quickness to beat Namus.
“It’s not just a pipe dream. I’ve worked for this so long, I’ve worked so hard, and I feel like I deserve it. I believe in myself.”