In Joe Gallagher’s sweltering Bolton gym, surrounded by training fighters like Anthony Crolla, Paul Butler and Callum Smith, we sit down with Miss GB Natasha Jonas, Great Britain’s female boxing ambassador and #TeamMorson athlete to discuss being a female role model, getting more women into the sport and how her two-year-old daughter knows when it’s fight night.
“As a new mum and a first time mum, there’s so many things that you get told. You’re trying to do what’s best for them and not spoil them – give them what you can but not too much. You struggle with that for the first year or so. But once my daughter was in her routine I was left with a lot of time and thought, what I am going to do? So I decided to come back to boxing and it all fell into place!”
Tash’s journey back to boxing, this time as a professional, after the birth of her daughter Mela couldn’t have gone much better so far. Since her comeback fight against Monika Antonik in June 2017, she has fought a further five times, all bouts resulting in comfortable wins. This has elevated herself to a new level within the sport. Tash recognises the importance of attracting more women into male-dominated sports, and is only too aware of the platform from which she can now do this.
“The opportunity is there for us now. We knew once the Olympic thing was over that people would get behind it and enjoy women’s boxing once they saw it at its elite level. It’s going to grow, and it’s good to be a pioneer in starting that. I don’t want it to be easy, I want it to be tough because then it means more and if it makes it easier for the women that are coming behind me then I’d rather it be tough. It’s good to be able to speak honestly and truthfully about the sport I’m involved in and try and make it better for the women coming through. I’d rather take it on my shoulders and do the graft and the hard work and break down a couple of barriers.”
Being a female role model isn’t something that Jonas anticipated would happen, but it’s clear in her popularity that this is exactly what she has become.
“I do get people on social media wishing me well and saying that I’ve inspired them. – coming to the gym just to take photos. It’s a lovely feeling and it’s not something I ever thought would be. It’s an honour and pleasure to be someones idol and be looked up to. I didn’t really think of myself as a role model until after the Olympics, when I looked back and thought, ‘wow we really did something great there and I was part of something’. In the moment, I didn’t think like that. To me I was just a boxer doing what I do and trying to do my best.”
Her two-year-old daughter is also quickly becoming her biggest fan, too, and Tash is pleased to be one of her early
“She’s got her routine and I’ve got mine! Obviously she sees me on the TV. I went home with my traditional two braids and she said “mummy’s boxing” – so she knows that my braids mean it’s fight night! I’m just happy that she can see me doing stuff that’s not conventional.
If you’ve got a dream and you believe yourself and work hard and try your best, you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”