From taking up boxing ten years ago as a way to lose weight to becoming the first woman to box for Great Britain at the Olympic Games, it has been quite a journey for Natasha Jonas.
But the Liverpudlian is adamant it is time for another chapter in her life having made the decision to hang up her gloves and step out of the ring.
Originally a budding footballer with a scholarship out in the USA, Jonas was forced into a change of direction due to injury.
It proved to be a blessing in disguise though as, what started out as a way of keeping fit, quickly snowballed into an impressive boxing career.
A five-time national England Boxing champion, Jonas won bronze at the 2012 World Championships in China before making history when she defeated Quinatta Underwood of the USA in the first women’s bout of the lightweight competition at London 2012.
She went on to lose in the quarter-final to eventual gold medallist, Katie Taylor of Ireland, in a contest which registered the loudest crowd noise of any event at London 2012 at 113.7 decibels.
But while another crack at Olympic glory in Rio is just 16 months away, Jonas has instead called time on her boxing career with the 30-year-old confident it was the correct decision.
“It just felt like the right time to retire,” she said. “Boxing is an extremely tough sport and very few people ever see the training and hard work that goes into it and after doing it for a long time, I just decided that it was time to do something else.
“Being away from camp to recover from my recent injury has given me time to think and I just came to the conclusion that I did not want to go back to the demands of full-time training and that now is the right time to retire.
“When I started boxing ten years ago I was an overweight, unemployed scally from Toxteth and if you’d have told me then that I would win a world championship medal and compete in front of 10,000 people at the Olympic Games I would never have believed it, so I am very proud to have achieved those things and done so well in the sport.
“I have been to some great places, had some amazing experiences and being able to share them with such a fantastic group of people is something I will treasure forever.
“I have no idea what I will do now but I do have a few interests outside of the sport. It will be nice to not have to get up and run at 6 o’clock every morning.”
As well as lightweight world bronze in 2012, Jonas also won light-welterweight bronze at the 2011 European Championships and silver at the same tournament last year.
A foot injury sustained in her opening bout of the 2014 Commonwealth Games hindered her hopes of further silverware when she lost on a split decision to eventual gold medallist Shelley Watts.
Despite the disappointment in Glasgow, Jonas still enters into retirement having left a major mark on the sport, with London 2012 flyweight gold medallist Nicola Adams quick to highlight her former GB Boxing teammate’s impact.
“I have trained, competed and travelled all over the world with Natasha for the last five years so will be really sad to see her leave,” said Adams.
“Over the years she has been a brilliant campaigner for the sport and has done so much to progress women’s boxing in this country.
“She was the first women to ever box for Great Britain, the first to qualify for the Olympics and the first to box at the Games, so she has achieved a lot and been a great ambassador for the sport. She will be missed by all of the team.”
© Sportsbeat 2015