Natasha Jonas appreciates the progress that has occurred in women’s boxing inside the last decade but she insists “there is still a long way to go” as she called for a fairer pay structure within the sport.
From being one of the first females to box at an Olympics at London 2012 to topping the bill in a world title fight last year, Jonas has been instrumental in shattering stereotypes and bringing women to the forefront of the sport.
It is a far cry from Jane Couch having to win a landmark legal case 23 years ago this month just to be able to compete in the ring, but Jonas, 36, believes the wage gap between male and female professionals is the next battle.
While Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are estimated to bring in tens of millions of pounds per bout, the likes of Katie Taylor, who holds all four major world titles at lightweight, and Claressa Shields, the first fighter – male or female – to be undisputed champion in two divisions in the four-belt era, bring in a fraction of that.
Jonas, speaking on the occasion of International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, told the PA news agency: “We have come a long way but there is still a long way to go. Jane looking back at us, she’s like ‘wow’. She isn’t envious, she’s glad it’s moved on.
“It’s the same with us. I would like to think that females coming after me would be in a better position than I was.
“The thing about boxing when you start is that there is no discrepancy with money. Whether you’re a man or a woman it’s generally the same and it’s only when you move further up the ladder the pay scales differ.
“That’s what we need to work on now. We’ve broken down those barriers of ‘women can’t box’ because there are household names and people are genuinely interested in where the females go and what they’re doing next.
Jonas brought the curtain down on her career in 2015 but two years later, and 16 months after giving birth to daughter Mela, she reversed her retirement decision and elected to turn professional.