Natasha Jonas dominated Patricia Berghult to unify the WBC and WBO super-welterweight world titles.
Boxing on the Liam Smith vs Hassan Mwakinyo undercard at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, Jonas was welcomed to her home city by a rapturous reception. She would not be denied and ultimately took a wide unanimous decision over her rival champion.
Jonas leapt up three weight classes to win her first world title only in February in Manchester. In her next fight, she was fighting Berghult to unify the latter’s WBC belt with the WBO super-welterweight title Jonas already held.
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Sweden’s Berghult started sharply, countering Jonas with a cross. Jonas clipped her with a southpaw right hook and Berghult felt the shot. Nevertheless, the Swede moved in and out on her feet, making it hard for Jonas to connect.
The Liverpudlian waded forward in the second round to open up with a flurry and prompt a wild cheer from the crowd. They traded in the centre of the ring and Jonas brought her power shots to bear, beating Berghult to the punch with a left cross just as the bell rang to end the round.
Staying up close, Berghult worked busily but Jonas could thump heavy hits into the Swede’s head. She chased after Berghult in the fourth round, but misjudging her timing allowed the WBC belt-holder to thump in a left hook. As they traded fire, Berghult’s right hook slammed over. Jonas finished the round though with a hurtful right catching the chin to keep Berghult on her toes.
That prompted Berghult to retreat in the fifth. But Jonas cut her space down, finishing combinations with her strong left cross. Beghult reeled a right off with her back to the ropes. However undeterred Jonas varied her assault to the head and the body.
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Natasha Jonas says she’s humbled after she became unified world super-welterweight champion after a unanimous decision victory over Patricia Berghult
Jonas pressed her advantage in the sixth round, targeting the head once again as she backed Berghult up.
The Swede slugged back, working hard to try to dissuade Jonas. But the WBO champion marched in still, finishing the round with a right-left catching Berghult’s chin and her lead hook cracking in.
Jonas began to break through in the eighth round. Targeting the body provided the opening for a left to carve through to the chin. It stunned Berghult for an instant. Jonas sensed it. She dialled up her aggression again and rocked the Swede back on her heels. She set up hard hits expertly, whipping a right hook to the jaw.
In the ninth round, she finished an excellent brace of straight punches with a lead hook. She worked another explosive combination around Berghult’s punches. The back hand too jolted Berghult in her tracks.
Jonas’ supporters roared her home, she continued to thump in hits in the last round, and ultimately secured a wide victory, an 100-92 shut out on two cards and 99-91 once.
Watch Liam Smith vs Hassan Mwakinyo live on Sky Sports Arena.