GB hopeful Tasha Jonas - Olympic diary
by @TashaJonas (follow on Twitter)
British amateur boxing is currently going through somewhat of golden era. After enjoying almost unprecedented success at the 2008 Olympic Games and claiming four medals at the recent world championships, Britain is quickly developing into a super power of the unpaid ranks. Expectations are high of a large medal haul on home soil and if the squad’s performances in qualification are anything to go by, Team GB seems set to assemble its strongest squad to date. For the first time ever, that squad will include female boxers.
Women’s boxing makes its Olympic bow in 2012 and with just three weight divisions scheduled to take part, competition for places is fierce. Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas is one of three fighters competing for the coveted 60kg spot. The five time English Amateur champion and 2009 European lightweight champion recently returned from the European championships with a Bronze medal in the 64kg category and now, in an exclusive monthly column, takes Livefight.com readers behind the scenes in the run up to London.
I started boxing six years ago and am based out of the Rotunda A.B.C in Liverpool. This year though I’ve made it onto the Olympic podium squad and train full time at the E.I.S in Sheffield alongside the men. I feel like I’ve improved so much. Rob McCracken is our Performance Director and has bought in more professional techniques to our training.
I’m just back from the European Championships in Rotterdam. I got a good draw and fought a Swiss girl (Evelyn Ziegler. W. 1st round stoppage) first. I couldn’t say if she was good or not because it didn’t last that long! I was just so pumped and ready to go that they could have put anybody in there with me. We’d trained so hard and waited so long for it that it was good to get it out of the way.
The quarter final fight was against a Russian girl (Anastasia Bellykova W. Pts. 19:12). She’d beaten me earlier in the year when we went to Russia. I think it was close when we fought there but she got given the decision. I went out with the same intentions as my first fight but she was a bit tougher and more game than the Swiss girl.
The next fight was with the Turkish girl (Guizam Tatar L. Pts. 11:12). We’d been with the Turks at a training camp in Poland the week before the tournament and sparred each other! During the first spar we didn’t really touch one another because knew we’d have each other the next week. She got told off by her coaches for that though, so my coaches told me we had to spar properly. I thought I got the better of her in sparring and when it came to the actual fight, I was winning for the first two rounds. Then I got caught by two silly shots at the end of the third round and that put me behind. She was holding a lot and very clever and experienced.
I was disappointed to lose but if you’d asked me before the tournament if I’d have been happy with a bronze medal then I would have been. Because I’d got that far though and knew I could beat her, to lose was a bit of a smack in the face.
A couple of weeks ago the two other girls in my class, Amanda Coulson and Chantelle Cameron, fought each other in the British championship. You might have seen it on BBC television.
I thought Amanda did well. I don’t think people expected her to win that bout and she’s probably put herself back in contention for the Olympic place. She’s had a couple of bad performances which took her out of the limelight but she’s back in it now I suppose. It got a bit scrappy at times but styles will win you fights and sometimes it’s not about how you win its just about getting the win. As a boxer myself, you love to have a brilliant performance and win but sometimes you perform well and lose. You just have to do whatever you’ve got to do to win.
People are saying the competition is back on between all three of us again but I think Amanda did me a favour by beating Chantelle. It showed that while Chantelle’s a real prospect who trains hard and does exactly the same as us, I don’t think she’s quite ready for these Olympics. That’s just my opinion though.
After competing at 64kg in the Euros, I’ll now be moving back down to 60kg. I start this coming Thursday at the Olympic test event at the Excel Arena in London. Supposedly twelve countries have been invited including Russia and Canada so it’s not gonna be an easy tournament. All I can do is my best.
Until next time!
Here’s a trailer for a documentary following Tasha’s journey:-
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