Natasha Jonas: December Diary
Natasha Jonas continues her exclusive diary for www.Livefight.com with a look back at her success at the recent Olympic test event. Over the course of three days at London’s Excel Arena, Olympic hopeful Tasha beat three of the world’s top ten lightweights to claim the gold medal in the 60kg category.
“To be honest I thought I’d got the short straw by drawing the American in the first round. That, no disrespect to her, turned out to be my easiest technical fight. They call her Queen but her name’s Quanitta Underwood (W Pts. 23:15). That was my first bout and I won it well and by quite a margin in the end so I was full of confidence. The American’s renowned for being a big puncher and a brawler so I was wary not to get too close to her. It was exactly the same as the recent European Championships. Before I got in the ring, they could have put me in with anyone and it wouldn’t have mattered.
“A big, massive thing as well was that I did the weight right. I was at 64kg in Holland and 60kg at the test event. It’s helped me realise how important it is to do the weight properly. They asked me when I got home from Holland if I wanted to do the GB Championships that were two weeks after I got back. I knew that all I’d do would be struggle to do the weight, wouldn’t do it properly and that that could have made a big difference. I said I’d rather not do that and have a chance at the test event if that was open to me. They said that was fine.
“In the semi finals I got the Russian who I beat in the Europeans. It was funny. We got there and on the board it said which teams were competing but it didn’t say who was fighting. It came to the first weigh in and I looked at the Russian (Anastasia Belyakova W Pts. 13:11) and thought “she looks familiar!” and she did exactly the same to me. She looked at me and went “60? Really?” and we both laughed because we were both 64kg two weeks go.
“I don’t know if it was because I was nervous because I’d had such a good performance in the first fight but the Russian seemed to be the hardest fight. I think she was the most awkward. That’s not saying anything against Cheng Dong (W Pts. 16:10) in the final because Dong was hard as well but it just felt like the Russian was harder. I felt against Dong that I was the underdog so I had nothing to lose. If I won it was a big bonus and if I lost it was kind of expected.
“It was a bit shorter than a normal tournament, only three bouts, but it’s probably the best I’ve boxed in a tournament. After it finished I was on a high but I think that was down to who I’d beaten rather than the actual tournament itself. It was good to have wins in front of Rob McCracken too. He said to me that he thought they were some of the best performances I’ve done for GB so I was glad he saw it. It’s different when another coach tells him that you’ve boxed well and then when he actually sees it himself.
“It was good to box in the Excel Arena which will hold the boxing events at the Olympics. It was all organised well and the staff were brilliant with us. I just can’t imagine what scale it’s gonna be on next year but it was nice to be in front of a home crowd and having the biggest cheer being for you for a change instead of somebody else! It’s gonna hold around 10,000 next year and I was under the impression that they were gonna give the tickets away to school kids. There were a couple of schools there but that was a bit disappointing. The seats weren’t filled when they could have been. That’s just a little point but overall it was great.
“We get two weeks off now for Christmas and I’m on my works night out in about half an hour. The GB boys have been away in Mauritius but all the girls and coaches who were about went for a meal last Tuesday. Tonight’s the works night out for Liverpool City Council who I do some work for.
“Happy Christmas and, if I don’t speak to you before, have a good New Year! I’m trying to do my best!”