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Boxing: Katie Taylor to tackle Natasha Jonas in London

Updated: Sunday, 05 Aug 2012 17:17 | Comments

Natasha Jonas jumps for joy after her convincing win at at ExCel
Natasha Jonas jumps for joy after her convincing win at at ExCel

Ireland’s Katie Taylor will meet Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas in the quarter-finals of the lightweight division at ExCeL on Monday.

Jonas beat American Queen Underwood 21-13 on the first day of the inaugural women's boxing competition.

But the 28-year-old Liverpudlian is more focused on the task ahead of her tomorrow, when she must fight and beat four-time world champion Taylor.

Jonas said: "History and records are great but I'm here at the Olympics and I don't want to just make up the numbers.

"I believe Katie and I are two of the best boxers in the world at our weight and it's unfortunate that we have fight so early. She's the world champion but with a crowd like that I think I have every chance."

Jonas believes she is a much better fighter than for the pair's last meeting at the Strandja Cup in Bulgaria in February 2011, when Jonas, having only recently joined the full-time programme, was beaten 6-3.

Jonas added: "When I fought her I was still in awe of her reputation, which no-one can dispute. She's a world-class boxer and a great ambassador for the sport.

"But I'm a different boxer to who I was two years ago. I did what I had to do to qualify and now I've got started at the Olympics in front of an unbelievable crowd."

Jonas boxed cleverly against her experienced American opponent, a former world silver medallist, who hurled big right hands but frequently failed to penetrate the Liverpudlian's tight guard.

Flicking scoring jabs in response, Jonas allowed Underwood to dictate the early pace and shade the first round 4-3, but stormed back in the second to move ahead, and enjoyed a spectacular third in which she increased her lead to five points.

Jonas had her best round in the last, landing a right hand which forced Underwood to take a standing count, before leaping for joy when the verdict was announced.

The winner of Monday’s bout will be guaranteed at least a bronze medal.

Twelve boxers are competing in each of the three - flyweight, lightweight and middleweight - weight classes for women.

Meanwhile, Indian superstar Mary Kom crashed into the Olympics in sensational style.

The 5ft 2ins, five-time world champion from Manipur chopped down the much taller Pole Karolina Michalczuk - herself a former world champion - 19-14.

Kom's bout was as action-packed as anything that had come before, as the ferocious 29-year-old flung hooks at the head of her upright opponent, roared on by a sizeable Indian contingent in the 10,000-capacity crowd.

Kom, whose five world titles all came in the lighter 46kg division, dominated Michalczuk despite the obvious size and weight discrepancy, to move through to the quarter-finals.

If successful against Tunisia's Maroua Rahali, Kom could set up a repeat bout against Great Britain's Nicola Adams in the semi-finals. Adams begins her quest against Bulgaria's Stoyka Petrova on Monday.

In a session of well-matched and generally exciting fights, Elena Savelyeva had had the honour of being the first winner of an Olympic women's bout, beating North Korea's Hye Song Kim.

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Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
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