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Mikaela Mayer Eyes Two Options For Mid-Year Return, Including Natasha Jonas Rematch

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Mikaela Mayer envisioned her 2024 campaign to include three fights and with a major title in her possession.

Those goals remain in play, even if the belt part comes with a one-fight delay.

The Ring has learned that Mayer is exploring two separate lucrative options for her next outing. One is a rematch with two-division and current IBF welterweight titlist Natasha Jonas. The two met in a memorable January 20 clash, won by Jonas via split decision in her Liverpool hometown.

A targeted second act would also take place in the UK, though likely in London. BOXXER, Jonas’ promoter, is currently working on plans for a potential June 15 show. The Sky Sports event would likely include this fight if a deal can be reached in time. The inclusion of Mayer would also push the show to ESPN+ in the U.S., as was the case in January.

Fight Freaks Unite’s Dan Rafael was the first to reveal that talks were ongoing between the pair of elite boxers.

Jonas (15-2-1, 9 knockouts), No. 1 at 147 and No. 7 pound-for-pound, admitted during the pre-fight buildup that she is near of the end of her career. With that realization, the 39-year-young southpaw—a 2012 Olympian for Great Britain and former three-belt 154-pound titleholder—only wants big fights from here on out.

Another dance with Mayer (19-2, 5 KOs) still qualifies as just that, given the American’s star power.

Much was made about Jonas’ unilateral rematch clause in the contract for the first fight. Hall of Fame former two-division titlist Tim Bradley, now an ESPN analyst, claimed on air that Mayer’s team dropped the ball by leaving her unprotected.

As should be the case, the marketplace ultimately dictated that the two need to run it back. Mayer, No. 4 at 147 and No. 10 pound-for-pound, remains Jonas’ most lucrative option.

However, Jonas is not the only option for the 2016 U.S. Olympian and former unified 130-pound titlist.

The Ring has confirmed that talks are ongoing between Mayer’s team and another “top-level” current titlist. WBO welterweight titlist Sandy Ryan (7-1-1, 3 KOs), No. 2 at 147, is believed to be that option.

Representatives for Mayer did not immediately return messages left seeking clarification. However, The Ring has learned that the “second option” would also take place in the UK and around the same timeframe. Ryan is prime for a quick return after her March 23 fourth-round stoppage of two-division titlist Terri Harper (14-2-2, 6 KOs) in Sheffield.

Mayer previously stated that a Jonas rematch was her priority but that the backup plan was the Ryan-Harper winner.

Either option would see Mayer hit the road to challenge for a portion of the welterweight crown.

Mayer previously held the IBF and WBO 130-pound titles. The 33-year-old California native—who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—won the WBO strap in an October 2020 shutout of unbeaten Ewa Brotnicka. Two fights later, she outlasted France’s Maiva Hamadouche to win the IBF belt in their Nov. 2021 slugfest.

Both title wins took place in Las Vegas.

Just one more stateside appearance followed for Mayer, a landslide win over Jennifer Han. Their April 2022 ESPN+ headliner took place in Costa Mesa, California.

Four straight fights have followed in the UK. The first was a heartbreaking split decision defeat to bitter rival Alycia Baumgardner (15-1, 7 KOs) in their Oct. 2022 Ring, WBC, IBF and WBO 130-pound championship. Baumgardner, No. 6 pound-for-pound, fully unified the division with a win over Elhem Mekhaled last February to add the WBA belt.

Mayer two fights in a 2023 campaign that led to a shot at Jonas’ IBF welterweight title. She entered 2024 with the acknowledgment that at least her next two fights would take place overseas. Given her earlier targeted options, a third fight on the year could also land in the UK where she remains well-received.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for The Ring and vice president of the Boxing Writers Association of America
Follow @JakeNDaBox

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