Natasha Jonas is now a two-weight titleholder.
The 2012 Great Britain Olympian and unified junior middleweight titlist added the vacant IBF welterweight belt to her collection following an eighth-round stoppage of Calgary’s Kandi Wyatt. No knockdowns were scored but Jonas was dominant from the opening bell through referee Marcus McDonnell’s decision to stop the fight at 0:33 of round eight.
The bout was the first of two title fights to air Saturday evening on Sky Sports and ESPN+ from AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Jonas’ first title win came in a second-round knockout of Chris Namus to win the vacant WBO 154-pound strap in this very arena last February. The well-preserved 39-year-young southpaw from Liverpool nearly had an early night at the office as Wyatt was rocked by a left hand and unsteady throughout the opening round.
Wyatt managed to steady herself and settle more into a boxing rhythm in the ensuing rounds. However, the visiting 32-year-old was still out of her depth in her fourth career title bid as Jonas surged ahead largely on the strength of textbook one-two combinations.
Jonas dialed up the pressure in round five. A straight left hand slammed home as Wyatt was forced on the defensive after previously plodding forward. Jonas continued to box and move, planting her feet when she had Wyatt within her most effective punching range.
A left hand by Jonas snapped back the head of Wyatt early in round six. Jonas didn’t get greedy, boxing for the most part but also found a home for her left uppercut and crisp combinations which further aggravated Wyatt’s already bloodied nose.
More punishment was doled out in round seven to where there was genuine concern for the health and wellbeing of Wyatt . Jonas went on the attack early in round eight, with one final power punching sequence enough to force the stoppage.
Wyatt fell to 11-5 (4KOs), with four losses in her last five fights. Included in the lot was a December 2021 seventh-round stoppage to then-undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill in Las Vegas. The IBF belt was since stripped from McCaskill’s possession aftera ten-round decision to Chantelle Cameron in their undisputed 140-pound championship.
Jonas advanced to 14-2-1 (9KOs), including 4-1-1 in major title fights. She fought to a ten-round draw in a terrific August 2020 slugfest versus then-unbeaten WBC junior lightweight titlist Terri Harper and a narrow ten-round defeat to undisputed lightweight queen Katie Taylor in May 2021.
A move up the scales has since produced five consecutive wins for Jonas, who claimed three belts at junior middleweight in as many fights in 2022 before the move down to welterweight.
The division’s other major belts will be at stake in a forthcoming clash between McCaskill—who still holds the lineal, WBC and WBA titles—and WBO titlist Sandy Ryan later this year.
Headlining the show, undisputed super middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn (8-1, 2KOs) of Baltimore, Maryland defends her crown versus Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (12-1, 10KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox