Jones handed final ‘seek and destroy’ mission

Heart of Portsmouth's Ebonie Jones Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Heart of Portsmouth's Ebonie Jones Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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EBONIE JONES got set for her Nations’ Cup title bid and was told: Seek and destroy.

The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) sensation steps into the ring in Serbia today bidding for golden glory.

A silver medal is assured for Jones after the 16-year-old moved up to youth level for the first time.

Two hugely-impressive wins have paved the way for a final showdown against Kazakhstan’s Mahabat Abdimanapova at 51kg.

Jones’ hurtling emergence in the amateur boxing game has seen her pick up multiple national titles on top of EU and European Championship victories.

There has been a junior Nations’ Cup success, as well a bronze medal in the World Junior Championships.

HOP head coach, Q Shillingford, backed Jones to show the mental toughness needed to succeed.

And he feels the pressure tactics, in controlled bursts, which is Jones’ trademark can be a big factor in the final.

Shillingford said: ‘Ebonie is now a seasoned international who is known and respected on the world stage.

‘She is an international with pedigree and has proved that.

‘She is capable of executing the game plan to the letter.

‘That’s what she has done so far, and I’ve no doubt she will do the same again.

‘The thing is she has stepped up to youth level and more than held her own with the very best.

‘You can’t take your foot off the gas and lose concentration at this level.

‘We’re quietly confident. Ebonie is an experienced boxer now.

‘She mentally prepares herself for what is needed.

‘She is armed, dangerous and ready to deliver – she is out to seek and destroy.’

Shillingford believes the sharpness Jones has shown so far in Serbia underlines the importance of the work she put in ahead of the championships.

And it’s taken a big effort across the whole of HOP to ensure that’s the case.

‘It’s been the whole team who have helped prepare Ebonie and ensure she’s in top shape,’ said Shillingford.

‘Joe Hunt’s tall, rangy and strong – and that’s the kind of opponent Ebonie will face.

‘Bailey Fowler, Tyler Hall, Bailey Donald and Billy Cable all came in over Christmas to prepare Ebonie, too.

‘Colin Williams has been a key part of the preparations and taking her to get the best sparring.

‘And her dad, Brian, has been working hard with her on her running and taking her up Butser Hill.

‘It’s a club effort that has made Ebonie what she is.’

Jones will once again be facing a much taller opponent today in Abdimanapova – but she has been backed to work at close quarters where her shots will be effective.

Shillingford added: ‘I’ve spoken to her and I think it will be a similar story in the final to what it’s been so far.

‘She needs to throw loads of shots, two and three-phase attacks and close her down to head and body.

‘The opponents so far have been strong and this opponent is so tall, a lot taller than Ebonie.

‘But the question is will she be strong enough to keep her off?’