Natasha Jonas has become the first woman in history to win the British Boxing Board of Control’s British Boxer of the Year Award.
It was another barrier-breaking moment for the Liverpool star, recognising her achievements over the course of the outstanding year that Jonas had in 2022.
The award goes to the best boxer of the year at any weight in the country and Jonas became the first woman to win it in British boxing history.
In winning this prize, she is following in the footsteps of some of the legends of British boxing. Previous winners include Lennox Lewis, Barry McGuigan, Nigel Benn, Naseem Hamed, Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton, Anthony Joshua and more.
Jonas, who 10 years ago became the first British woman to qualify for an Olympic Games, leapt up three weight classes in 2022. She won the WBO super-welterweight title in her first fight at 154lbs with a spectacular knockout victory over Chris Namus.
She unified world championships in her next fight, beating Patricia Berghult to take the WBC crown.
In the same calendar year she won her third consecutive world title fight when she outscored the two-time world champion Marie-Eve Dicaire to add a third belt, the IBF title to her collection.
A host of other champions were nominated for the Board of Control’s 2022 British Boxer of the Year award.
They were: the current undisputed super-lightweight ruler Chantelle Cameron; reigning IBF flyweight champion Sunny Edwards; unbeaten Welshman Joe Cordina, who won the IBF super-featherweight title against Kenichi Ogawa with a stunning one-punch finish; Leigh Wood, who defended his WBA feather title in an astonishing battle with Michael Conlan and marauding heavyweight contender Joe Joyce.
“You’re forever in the history books,” Jonas said afterwards. “I just took the opportunities last year when they came and things worked out for me, and obviously I worked hard to make sure they all went my way.
“This is for all the little girls out there. This isn’t just 2022. This has been 18 years of hard work and dedicating my life.”
American star Claressa Shields was the Board’s Overseas Boxer of the Year. She became undisputed middleweight champion in 2022 with her victory over Savannah Marshall in a ground-breaking headline event at the O2 Arena.
“I want to say thank you to the BBBoC for choosing me as the international fighter of the year. I’m just so happy and overwhelmed,” Shields said. “To know that you guys even thought of me for this award, to be able to go and fill out the O2 Arena, 20,000 fans, 2m viewers, 6m people worldwide and to defeat Savannah Marshall, it means everything to me.”
The Contest of the Year went to Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan for their fight of scarcely believable drama which Wood eventually won by knockout in the last round.
Grant Smith, coach of Sunny Edwards, Dalton Smith and more, won the Boxing News Trainer of the Year award. Source