Natasha Jonas blasts Chris Namus in two rounds, lifts vacant WBO 154-pound title
MANCHESTER, England – Natasha Jonas made it third time lucky with a spectacular second-round stoppage of Chris Namus to lift the vacant WBO junior middleweight title. The official time was 0:28.
Jonas, who entered as The Ring’s No. 4-rated lightweight, was moving up three divisions to fulfill a lifelong dream. The former Olympian was supposed to face Polish fighter Ewa Piatkowska, but was matched against former IBF 154-pound titleholder Namus when Piatkowska contracted COVID-19.
The 37-year-old Jonas (11-2-1, 8 KOs) was sharp from the get-go, scoring heavily with the southpaw jab, and a solid straight left found a home more than once. Towards the end of the opening round, Jonas got the better of an exchange at mid-ring and punctuated the assault with a big right hook that decked Namus heavily. It was the kind of knockdown that’s decisive even when the fight continues. The Uruguayan had lost her legs and the minute’s rest wasn’t long enough.
The habitually aggressive Namus came out to let her hands go in the second, but Jonas was too quick and found all the empty spots on the counter. A succession of lefts and rights put Namus down again, which prompted her corner to raise the white towel. Referee Howard Foster initially ignored it, but halted the action after having a good look at the visitor when she rose.
After unsuccessfully challenging Teri Harper and Katie Taylor for belts at 135 pounds, this seemed like an audacious jump for Jonas on paper. In reality, she was levels above Namus and it showed.
Namus, 34, falls to 25-7 (8 KOs).
In his professional debut, Olympic bronze medalist Frazer Clarke made short work of super-late replacement Jake Darnell by scoring a first-round stoppage at heavyweight. The official time was 2:06.
Darnell, also a pro debutant, was out of shape and out of his depth from the opening bell. Clarke used the jab to set up some sickening body shots and a right uppercut bloodied the underdog’s nose. When some brutal combination punching draped Darnell over the top rope, the stricken fighter’s corner wisely threw in the towel.
The 30-year-old Clarke, who medaled to considerable acclaim in the super heavyweight division at Tokyo 2020, is highly touted, but we won’t have a clear indication of how far he can go until he gets through the embryonic stages of his professional development.
Tom Gray is managing editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing