Boxing: Q&A with Team GB's Natasha Jonas

 

Despite losing out in yesterday's quarter-finals Natasha Jonas has played an important part in the Games, with her journey to London 2012 being made into a film.

You won a bronze medal at the World Championship, did you believe you could go at least one better in London?

There were two boxers who I rated as a threat and one of those was world champion Katie Taylor, who beat me in the last eight.

What were your expectations for the Games?

To win a medal. I’m disappointed not to get one. Every time you pull on a GB vest, you expect to win a medal and that’s not being big-headed, it’s just that all our fighters are good.

How good was it being the first female British boxers to qualifying for an Olympics?

That was great. I’d gone to the World Championships just to qualify for the Olympics. That was the job I did it but it was good to make history at the same time.

Do you feed off the success that the men’s boxing team have had?

Definitely, you can’t not. I spar with those guys and we now have one of the best boxing teams in the world. When we go to events, we know we can win medals in most categories.

Your journey to London was made into a film. How was that?

It was great but sometimes it was tough because they were always trying to get your emotions, even before a fight. Sometimes it was a pain but I got used to it. It was strange to watch it. No one likes to hear their own voice, do they?

Who would you like to play you in a film?

Rihanna or Angelina Jolie would be nice, wouldn’t it?

How tough is it having to make the weight of 60kgs. I take it that’s not your regular weight?

It was a struggle last year. I’d make the weight and then struggle to have the energy needed for three or four bouts. I’m more disciplined now. It has been all about motivation and you can’t get much greater motivation than a home Olympics, can you. When I started boxing, I was 70kg and I got down to 64kg but then still had to drop down another four kilograms. That was difficult. The Olympics were tangible by that point, so it was okay.

Do you think boxing suited your nature?

I’ve never done things half-hearted, everything I do I put my all into it. I love being pushed to my limit.

You played football originally and got into boxing only because of an injury. Is that right?

I was in the United States, in New Jersey, playing football at university and did my cruciate ligaments. I was playing a game when it just went. I was gutted. I was a left-winger and Mia Hamm [the former United States international] had just earned a £1million contract and that’s what I wanted. But it was over because of the injury and I had to come home.

Was it a blessing in disguise bearing in mind what has happened?

I’m pleased it happened now but I wasn’t at the time. I was so down when I came back and I lost my focus in life. I was trying to turn a negative into a positive and that’s when the boxing came up.

Which boxers do you look up to?

I like Manny Pacquiao because he is a lot more than just a boxer to so many people. He’s a great ambassador for his sport and his country. I’d like to say that I fight like him but I’m more of a counter-puncher. I also look up to Jane Couch because, without her and what she did in women’s boxing, I’d never be doing this.

Do you ever get the chance to switch off and have fun as a boxer?

It’s hard to get away from it because even when you’re at home, you cannot switch off entirely and you can’t eat what you want or go out for a drink. But I manage to get away from where we train in Sheffield to go home to Liverpool and that helps. I tend to go out to the cinema with my mates.

What’s in store after the Games?

A girls’ holiday but we’ve not decided where yet.

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