Girls show six appeal with haul of national titles

Ebonie Jones, left
Ebonie Jones, left

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The area’s female boxers delivered in emphatic style at the ABA Female Championships.

Six victories were picked up from finalists in Mansfield as a series of outstanding performances were delivered on the big stage.

Heart of Portsmouth (HOP), University of Portsmouth and Gosport were all celebrating as their boxers turned it on and grabbed titles.

HOP led the way as Ebonie Jones, Tilly Evans and Natasha Cole all picked up their national crowns, while Ashleigh Pond lost by a narrow margin.

Pond could be proud of her efforts, however, against Bridgwater’s Crystal Barker, as she delivered a performance which saw her receive an England call-up for squad training.

Jones became a national champion at 46kg in the junior class 1 section with a whopping 19-9 win.

It was a similar story for Evans at 50kg in class 2, as she thundered to a 21-8 final win over Feltham Police’s Louise Cryan.

And a brilliant hat-trick was completed by Cole in her class 6, 71kg final with Windrush Valley’s Jasmine Yates.

On a great day for the area, the fast-emerging University of Portsmouth set-up delivered two national titles.

Charlie Southam was victorious by a 17-15 scoreline as she met William Perry ABC’s Sarah Garrett at 63kg, class 4.

That win was followed up by senior Jo-Anne Barrett, who romped to an 18-9 success over Bury’s Sarah Dunne at Class C 60kg.

And Gosport’s Paris Dunford lived up to her promise in what proved to be a cracking contest with Down End’s Adelaide Baker.

Dunford did enough to grab a 9-7 win at 52kg in the junior class 2 section and get the party started.

Wecock Farm’s Beth Bowden did superbly to make the final at 58kg in class 3 but lost a 28-9 points decision to Ernie Oxers’ Terri Harper.

The strong performances underlines the strides being made in amateur boxing in this area, especially among females.

Heart of Portsmouth coach Q Shillingford lauded the performances of not only his boxers but everyone from across the area.

He said: ‘It was a great day for our club but it was also a great day for others, Portsmouth and the surrounding area as well.

‘We had three champions on the day, with some great performances and our other finalist got an England call-up.

‘Paris Dunford was in one heck of a bout. It was close but she got it and deserved it.

‘With University of Portsmouth getting two winners, it shows this area is a hot bed for female amateur boxing.’