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Longer rounds should mean bigger payday, says Natasha Jonas

Natasha Jonas faces Mikaela Mayer on January 20 (Nick Potts/PA)
Natasha Jonas faces Mikaela Mayer on January 20 (Nick Potts/PA)

Natasha Jonas will consider facing Mikaela Mayer over three-minute rounds but believes more time in the ring should equate to greater financial rewards.

Jonas will defend her IBF world welterweight title against Mayer across 10 two-minute rounds at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on January 20, but her American opponent wants the contest to be be brought into line with the men’s sport.

Only a small handful of women’s fights have taken place over the longer distance and Mayer is hopeful their clash will be added to that list, stating that she has already made the request to promoter Ben Shalom.

Jonas will discuss the change with Shalom, who believes that shorter rounds lead to more explosive fights and therefore provide greater entertainment, but insists it could not happen without other issues being addressed.

“It wasn’t ever something that was talked about. I presumed that it would be 10 twos because that’s what the fights are. There was never an option to do three minutes,” Jonas told the PA news agency.

“For me, three minutes is a good thing. I’m sure Ben might say something different. We’ll have the discussion, but there are a lot of other things involved – if we do longer rounds are we going to get paid more?

“It opens a can of worms. We want fairer pay. No one is saying we want equal pay, but it’s got to be fair and show that if you’re doing more rounds then you’re going to get more money. That would be a good thing.

“But the WBC said this week that they’re never going to change their rounds, so if I want to become unified champion then I’d have to do three minutes and then go back to the two. So it’s also about which belt you’re boxing for.”

Jonas returns to her native Liverpool after clinching two wins in Manchester with her hunger for the sport as strong as ever at the age of 39.

One of the driving forces for the first British women’s boxer to compete at an Olympic Games is to continue setting an example to her seven-year-old daughter Mela, who could attend one of her mum’s fights for the first time on January 20.

“I want to make her proud and show her that no matter how tough things are, if you work hard and don’t give up and you believe in yourself, then anything is possible,” two-weight world champion Jonas said.

“To be a good role model and the kind of person I needed when I was little that I didn’t see, other than young females in the sport and just girls in Toxteth in general.

“She watches my fights at home and hasn’t been to one yet, but is umming and ahing about this one. I take her to boxing shows all the time and she’s like ‘oh mum!’

“I know how tough it is to keep her entertained from the start of a boxing show until the end, so to put that on to somebody else is a big ask and that’s why she doesn’t come to mine.

“It’s nothing to do with the actual fight and physicality stuff, it’s more to do with keeping her still and happy.

“Mummy boxes, that’s what she knows. She’s been through camps with me in lockdown.

“She’s always known that mummy boxes and mummy goes to the gym. She’s seen the whole picture now and she gets it.”