Liverpool boxer Natasha Jonas has announced she is turning professional.
The Olympian, who represented Team GB at London 2012, will return to the ring under the tutelage of top trainer Joe Gallagher ?two years after stepping away following the birth of her daughter, Mele.
The lightweight was the first female boxer to represent Great Britain at the Olympics, beating American Quanitta Underwood to set up a quarter-final bout with Ireland鈥檚 Katie Taylor.
Though she lost out to the eventual gold medallist, her bout with Taylor was one of the highlights inside the Copper Box Arena.
The 32-year-old announced her return to the sport, and her move into the professional realm, at a press conference on Monday.
Attended by a large number of her friends and family, the ECHO sat down with her afterwards to hear her views on a huge day for the fighter.
Jonas on... facing Katie Taylor again
鈥淚 don鈥檛 want Katie Taylor to be the forefront and me trailing behind her, her paving her way and me in the shadows. I want to make my own path and if that means us meeting at the end, then so be it.
鈥淔or me personally, this is my journey, it鈥檚 not about Katie Taylor for me. I鈥檓 here to do the best I can do and be the best I can be. If that means I鈥檓 a one-belt world champion, or a three-belt world champion, or a unified world champion, then we鈥檒l see at the end.
鈥淏ut at this minute, it鈥檚 about me and I know there will be 10,000 people who were in the Excel who will definitely be thinking 鈥業 want to be there again鈥?because the atmosphere that night was special.
鈥淚t鈥檚 because of nights like that because I want to be back in boxing.?/p>
Jonas on... making the decision to go professional
鈥淭he decision go pro was easier than the decision to leave in the first place.
鈥淲hen I was contemplating leaving, I was in a stage of my life where I was wondering what I was going to do now. Boxing took up my Mondays to Fridays since ever, so what do I do when it鈥檚 not there, and how do I go about that.
鈥淚鈥檝e been lucky enough to start up my own business, have the opportunity to be able to do that, I was lucky enough to get some opportunities with Sky and work on the punditry team. That鈥檚 all because of boxing.
鈥淭he decision to come back was simple, it was just a case of if I should do it or not.
鈥淚 just thought I should speak to my family, see what they say, and it was easier to make that decision than figuring out what to do when I first left.
鈥淚t鈥檚 been such a big part of my life. I did start late, it鈥檚 been such a big part of my life since I was 21, no one can ever just leave.?/p>
Jonas on... representing the city of Liverpool
鈥淲hen it comes to support, and boxing in Liverpool, we are in an explosion. We have so many world class athletes and it鈥檚 amazing.
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 realise until you鈥檙e in the arenas for the big nights, the big shows, and you realise everybody has come out to see their local people.
鈥淲e have always been a city that鈥檚 got behind our own, whether that鈥檚 politically, financially, emotionally, whatever. We鈥檝e always got behind our city and I hope it continues for myself.?/p>
Jonas on... learning from the Smith brothers, Bellew et al
鈥淭hey鈥檙e already giving me advice about my debut. They鈥檙e there, they鈥檙e experienced, they鈥檝e been through it and done it. There isn鈥檛 an up or down that they haven鈥檛 been through, there isn鈥檛 a situation none of them have been through.
鈥淚t鈥檚 good to be able to ask advice, and even before I decided to go with Joe, or go pro, I was asking those questions.
鈥淚 was asking Anthony Joshua, Tom Stalker, Tony Bellew, because they鈥檙e the people who I鈥檓 close to, but also because they鈥檝e been there.
鈥淚t鈥檚 nice that we鈥檙e that close we can share our experiences and be honest. You need that as well, because boxing isn鈥檛 all smiles and people aren鈥檛 always out to do the best for you, so you have to do the best for yourself.?/p>
Jonas on... making the transition
鈥淭he training is different in a weird way. You鈥檙e not here to score points now, you鈥檙e here to win rounds and to stop people.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e not punching to a target, you鈥檙e punching through a target, things like that.
鈥淭here鈥檚 technical things that need addressing, but I found it enjoyable, the time and experiences I鈥檓 going through.
鈥淚f I鈥檓 honest, I didn鈥檛 know a lot about women鈥檚 professional boxing, because I never had to. Then now I do look and I think ok, this is the standard, this is where I鈥檝e got to get, and it鈥檚 a long journey.
鈥淏ut there鈥檚 no reason why I can鈥檛. Is it above and beyond? No, not really. Will it be easy? No. But as long as I knuckle down, listen to my trainer, and I do my best, that鈥檚 all I can ask for in myself, and that鈥檚 all I鈥檝e ever done.?/p>
Jonas on... pioneering women鈥檚 boxing
鈥淚t helps with my personal profile because a lot of people remember or know, if you鈥檙e interested in boxing, you watch the Olympics.
鈥淭here were probably 10,000 people who were in the Excel that day who remember that fight.
鈥淚t is a movement now, a positive one, and to be a part of that is great for myself. I鈥檓 just happy women鈥檚 boxing is moving forward.?/p>
And finally, Jonas on... her family
鈥淚 hate to be cliché but family is everything, as you see. We have our ups and downs but they鈥檙e always there for me, through the good and the bad.
鈥淚t鈥檚 just amazing they all came and they鈥檙e so excited for the journey that鈥檚 ahead, and they know it鈥檚 not going to be easy. I know it鈥檚 not going to be easy. It never runs smooth.
鈥淏ut there鈥檚 a big prize and a big opportunity at the end of it which we鈥檙e all willing to sacrifice for.
鈥淚鈥檓 a mum so there鈥檚 changes now, I have to get the baby looked after. She鈥檚 in nursery but we have to get her looked after.
鈥淭hey鈥檝e seen the downside, they鈥檝e seen the tears after the Olympics, the tears after the Commonwealth, and as long as I鈥檓 mentally there they just want to be able to support me ?physically and mentally.?/p>