Team GB boxing star Natasha Jonas makes pro debut in Newcastle
One of British female boxing's greats, Natasha Jonas, is to make her professional debut in Newcastle.
The Liverpool lighweight, who turned pro earlier this year, will face Poland’s Monika Antonik at the JD NXTGEN show at the Walker Activity Dome.
Jonas created history in London 2012 as the first female boxer to compete in the Olympics, where she was in the same team as Hartlepool's Savannah Marshall and Nicola Adams.
Natasha, who turned 32 yesterday, is targeting titles in her first year in the paid ranks, and could be on a collision course with old Olympic rival Katie Taylor, who beat her in the quarter-finals at London 2012.
“I can't wait to get started on Friday night,” said Jonas, who fought out a huge rivalry with the first lady of Hartlepool boxing, Amanda Coulson, for the U60 kilo GB vest.
“I want to get to the top of the game once again so it’s great to get going before the summer and we can hit the ground running in the new season.
“It's always the target to aim high and as long as I put the work in with Joe in the gym, the sky is the limit.
“Throughout my career I've been breaking down barriers and I've never felt out of place. I know the drive and determination that I've got inside of me.
“Katie has set the bar in women's boxing and everyone has aspired to be like her.
"Whatever she's done and wherever she goes she sets a good example. I'm not here to be in anyone's shadow but I take my hat off to everything that she's done as an amateur and now as a pro.”
It is the second women's signing by Matchroom, who have alrady snapped up Irish heroine Taylor.
“I'm delighted to welcome Tasha to the team and excited to see her fight on Friday in Newcastle,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
“There is an obvious super fight with Katie Taylor down the road but firstly we want to progress Tasha in the pro ranks and target her own world title first.
"She has looked excellent in camp with [coach] Joe Gallagher and I'm looking forward to watching her perform under the lights.”
Jonas’ pro debut is part of the second instalment of the JDNXTGEN series, topped by Josh Kelly’s third pro fight against Tom Whitfield.
A host of local stars appear on the bill as former World champion Stuart Hall as he looks to build to another World title shot, Bradley Saunders returns to the ring, unbeaten Super-Middleweight Jordan King looks to build on his 8-0 start, Cruiserweight pair Simon Vallily and Warren Baister continue their assault on the division.
Tickets are on sale now priced £30 unreserved balcony, £40 unreserved tier, £60 reserved floor seats and £100 reserved VIP seats – tickets are available from www.matchroomboxing.com.