As revealed a few days back, Natasha Jonas will defend her IBF welterweight title against Mikaela Mayer on January 20th at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena. Sky Sports carries the event in the UK and Ireland, while stateside viewers can catch it on ESPN+.
Jonas (14-2-1, 9 KO) went 0-1-1 in a pair of tussles with Katie Taylor and Terri Harper, took one look at the higher weight classes, and had a Tim and Eric moment. Successive wins over Chris Namus, Patricia Berghult, and Marie Eve Dicaire earned her three of the four super welterweight titles, after which she dropped to 147 to beat Kandi Wyatt for a vacant belt.
Signs pointed to a potential rematch with Harper for the whole shebang at 154, but that’s on the backburner after an iffy draw against Ceceilia Braekhus kept Harper from securing Jonas’ former WBO belt.
Enter Mayer (19-1, 5 KO). The former unified super featherweight champ, who dropped a narrow decision to Alycia Baumgardner in her own bid for undisputed glory, jumped to 135 and then 140 in back-to-back bouts. Despite the weight class shenanigans, I can’t imagine there being much of a size difference, so this should be plenty fun.
“I’m so excited to be fighting back in Liverpool in my first headline show and in the biggest fight of my career so far,” Jonas said. “It’s my fifth world title fight with BOXXER, in my backyard, and I’m ready for it. It’s Mikaela Mayer, she stretches above and beyond the UK shores. ‘Miss GB’ versus ‘Miss USA’ and may the best woman win!”
Mayer said, “These are the types of matchups boxing needs. I am feeling better than ever at my new weight and confident that 2024 is when I take it all back.”
Jack Cullen (22-4-1, 10 KO), who bounced back from his loss to Diego Pacheco by smashing Mark Heffron for the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles in September, also makes his inaugural defense against Zak Chelli (14-2-1, 7 KO). The pair fought to a draw in 2020, since which Chelli has enjoyed a brief reign as English champ and picked up a notable win over Anthony Sims Jr.