We analyse the credentials of Natasha Jonas and Kandi Wyatt as the two welterweight contenders get set to do battle in Manchester this weekend, with the vacant IBF world title on the line.
Simply put, last year was a vintage one for Natasha Jonas!
Like a fine wine, the Liverpudlian is improving all the time but 2022 will always be remembered as the year where everything clicked.
Three fights, three super-welterweight world titles and the names of Chris Namus, Patricia Berghult and Marie Eve Dicaire added to her record. To top it all off Jonas was awarded the British Boxing Board of Control’s British Boxer of the Year award, becoming the first female fighter to do so.
On Saturday the 39-year-old gets her first chance to box in 2023 against 7/1 outsider Kandi Wyatt for the vacant IBF welterweight title, where a win for Jonas would inscribe her name deeper into the history books, by becoming a two-weight world champion.
A feat that seemed improbable just a couple of years ago when she fell just short of capturing a first world title in such controversial fashion against Terri Harper.
Canadian contender Kandi Wyatt will provide enough experience and in-ring IQ to earn Jonas' respect, but, providing the British fighter guards against any form of complacency, it's a fight that the heavy 1/12 favourite should prevail in.
Let’s look at the tale of the tape...
|Natasha Jonas (1/12)
|Kandi Wyatt (7/1)
|13-2-1 (8 KOs)
|11-4 (3 KOs)
|IBF, WBC & WBO super-welterweight titles
|W - UD v Marie Eve Dicaire (Nov 2022)
|W - SD v Kirstie Bavington (Mar 2023)
Natasha Jonas is only interested in big fights nowadays and having turned 39 this month who can blame her.
The disastrous loss to Viviane Obenauf in 2018 feels like a lifetime ago such has been the transformation in the career of the Liverpudlian fighter.
Her displays against Katie Taylor and Terri Harper proved she was one of the world’s best fighters but losing doesn’t bring rewards. That’s what will have made 2022 even more special for Jonas, who is now getting the recognition she deserves.
This weekend she gets the chance to become a two-weight world champion. By the end of the night another belt should be on her shoulders, and thoughts will soon turn to far bigger challenges.
Disappointingly a rematch against Terri Harper has not been made and a deal to step up and face Claressa Shields never looked like happening.
Jonas is in the final chapter of her career and will do all she can to get Harper, Shields or even in the opposite corner. Until then another world title will suffice.
|Boxes well at distance
|Leaves chin exposed
|Good use of backhand
|Leaky defence against elite opponents
|Can delay throwing punches
There's no doubt about it, Kandi Wyatt will need to produce the greatest performance of her life to beat Jonas on Saturday, and her odds prove that.
Thanks to the lack of depth in women’s boxing the Canadian has received opportunities to fight for world titles on three occasions.
Prior to her win in Wolverhampton in March against Kirstie Bavington, the 32-year-old lost three on the spin to Kali Reis, Alma Ibarra, and Jessica McCaskill.
The latter fight was on that Jonas should pay particular attention to. A lightning start by ‘CasKILLA’ forced Wyatt into survival mode and only her chin and durability kept her in the fight until she was stopped late on.
The eye test shows Wyatt is not on the level of Jonas and one wonders how she will be able to cope when Jonas glides in and starts catching Wyatt with her potent backhand.
The heavy favourite may find that she gets to do what she wants in the fight from very early on when she will likely beat Wyatt to the punch more often than not.
|Can be lethargic
|Lack of power
The only way for Wyatt to win (7/1) is if Jonas punches herself into exhaustion and the underdog is still standing to take advantage, but that is highly unlikely.
In fact, I doubt very much that the Canadian will hear the final bell in Manchester.
Jonas is to win by stoppage which looks very much like the bet to be on.