Two-weight world champion Natasha Jonas will defend her IBF welterweight world title against former unified world champion Mikaela Mayer in a landmark night for women’s boxing as two of the sport’s biggest stars meet on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England, live on ESPN+ in the U.S. and Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland.
Jonas (14-2-1, 9 KOs) will be making the first defense of the IBF crown she claimed with an emphatic stoppage win over Canadian Kandi Wyatt earlier this year, having previously unified the WBC, WBO and IBF junior middleweight world titles.
Standing in the opposite corner will be U.S. star Mayer (19-1, 5 KOs), a fellow Olympian and the former IBF, WBO, and Ring Magazine junior lightweight world champion. The Los Angeles native was one of the stars of BOXXER’s historic women’s night last year, and after capturing the WBC interim lightweight world title earlier this year, Mayer will be moving up in weight once again.
Newly crowned British champion Jack Cullen also returns to action in Liverpool, defending his Lonsdale strap against former foe Zak Chelli. Cullen (22-4-1, 10 KOs) scored a memorable third-round TKO win over Mark Heffron in September to claim the British and Commonwealth titles. ‘Little Leaver’s Meat Cleaver’ will now square off against former English Champion Chelli (14-2-1, 7 KOs) in a repeat of their all-action 2020 contest that ended in a draw.
“I’m so excited to be fighting back in Liverpool in my first headline show and in the biggest fight of my career so far,” Jonas said. “It’s my fifth world title fight with BOXXER, in my backyard, and I’m ready for it. It’s Mikaela Mayer, she stretches above and beyond the UK shores. ‘Miss GB’ versus ‘Miss USA’ and may the best woman win!”
Mayer said, “These are the types of matchups boxing needs. I am feeling better than ever at my new weight and confident that 2024 is when I take it all back.”
BOXXER Founder and CEO, Ben Shalom, said: “2024 promises to be a monumental year for BOXXER and Sky Sports, and we’re thrilled to kick things off with another massive night for women’s boxing as Natasha Jonas defends her world title against Mikaela Mayer in a matchup set to showcase the pinnacle of the sport. Natasha and Mikaela are two fantastic athletes – both former Olympians and world champions – from either side of the Atlantic, ready to put it all on the line to secure their legacy.”
“Mikaela Mayer is beloved in the UK, and we are thrilled that she will get an opportunity to become a two-weight champion against a sensational fighter in Natasha Jonas,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “These are two of the best pound-for-pound females in boxing.”