GOLDEN girl Ebonie Jones is today a superstar after being crowned European boxing champion.
The 16-year-old hotshot bagged a gold medal in her weight category after beating Poland’s Agata Kawecka in a three-round fight in Assisi, Italy.
It came on the back of a series of bouts the youngster had in the week in the run-up to her huge victory.
And now she’s setting her sights on clinching a spot in Team GB and making it to the Olympics by 2020.
Her elated father Brian Jones, of Drayton, Portsmouth, said he and the rest of the family were incredibly proud and thanked everyone else for supporting her too.
‘I’m over the moon,’ he said.
‘I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone.
‘Everyone’s support has been brilliant.
‘Obviously, we didn’t know until she was over there that she would make it through to the final, but I’m sure people talking about her has spurred her on. She wanted to go for gold.’
He added: ‘Her mind has always been set on making it to the Olympics when she is old enough.’
Ebonie, a pupil at Charter Academy in Southsea, has been a member of Heart of Portsmouth (HoP) boxing academy for four years.
Mr Jones reserved special praise for HOP senior head coach Colin Williams for helping to train Ebonie and take her out for sprints down on Southsea seafront and up Butser Hill.
He also arranged a personal trainer and a nutritionist for Ebonie to boost her strength.
Colin said he believes she’ll eventually go all the way in the Olympics.
‘Ebonie has got tunnel vision, she knows where she wants to go. I believe she will win Olympic gold,’ he said
‘All the sprinting, training, when it comes down to it and you see young Ebonie on the podium winning that gold medal, it makes it all worthwhile.’
HoP coach Q Shillingford, who has backed Ebonie since her early days as a boxer, said: ‘She is a dedicated athlete who deserves everything she gets.
‘What she has done for the club, for Portsmouth, Hampshire and for female boxing is amazing. Ebonie is a world-class athlete.’
Ebonie was due to return to the UK today.
She’s due to go to South Downs College, in Waterlooville, when the new term starts to study a diploma in sport science.
Eyes on the prize
BOXING champion Ebonie Jones already has a list of achievements to her name.
The 16-year-old competes for England and is a three-time Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) national champion and a European Union Championships gold medallist.
If that wasn’t enough, Ebonie clinched a bronze medal in the World Junior Championships in Bulgaria last year – and brought home the gold medal for her age and weight at the Nations’ Cup in Serbia in January.
Her goal has been to make it to the Olympics ever since seeing GB boxer Nicola Adams receive her gold medal at London 2012.
Heart of Portsmouth boxing academy works closely with Portsmouth’s Community Improvement Partnership, Portsmouth Respect Programme and the Motiv8 youth group who all work hard in directing and supporting the youth of the city.
To read The News’ view on what we can all learn from Ebonie click here.