EBONIE JONES’ reign as title holder came to a close at the European Championships yesterday.
Jones’ charge to retain her crown ended at the semi-final stage against reigning world champion Anush Grigoryan at the Juniors and Youth Women’s European Championships.
Both girls have medalled for England and put in great performances for Portsmouth.Q Shillingford
That saw the 17-year-old return with a bronze medal from Hungary in what is expected to be her last major outing as a Heart of Portsmouth boxer.
Jones’ efforts were echoed by club-mate Ivy-Jane Smith, who also went out of the competition in the semi-final contest.
Russian Valeria Rodionova was given the points verdict at 52kg in the competition’s junior section.
Smith drew praise from England’s coaching staff, who thought Drayton ace Jones had one enough to get the decision over Grigoryan at 51kg in the youth section.
It’s the second time the Armenian has edged Jones by the narrowest of margins following the World Championships in Bulgaria two years ago.
HOP head coach, Q Shillingford, knows his boxers will feel a tinge of disappointment not to have made it to the final after progressing well in the event.
But he believes they can be full of pride at both medalling against the sport’s top talent.
Shillingford said: ‘It wasn’t good news for either girl.
‘But they have gone to a major tournament, represented their countries and brought medals home.
‘Of the 12 boxers England took four have medalled – and they are two of them.
‘The England coaching staff thought Ebonie had done enough to get the decision but that’s how it goes.
‘What is clear is they are delighted with how both girls have performed.
‘Ivy has undoubtedly stepped up and we all know about Ebonie’s talent, too.
‘She’ll probably be a bit disappointed but she doesn’t need to be.
‘Both girls have medalled for England and put in great performances for Portsmouth.’
Jones is now expected to join the army later this year, ending her time as a HOP boxer.
Making that move will allow the multi-national titlist to train full-time and work towards her aim of making it on to Great Britain’s Podium squad.
Smith has undoubtedly announced herself at the Euros, however, after recently joining HOP.
Her run in the competition saw her defeat Ireland’s world silver medallist Niamh Earley on a unanimous points decision before bowing out.
Shillingford said: ‘Ebonie is probably going into the army in October, so it is likely to be her last time as a HOP boxer.
‘You only have to look at her achievements to know everyone is extremely proud of what she has managed to do.
‘Being with Ebonie has also really helped bring Ivy along.
‘Ivy has gone out and taken apart the world number two in this competition and shown she belongs at this level.
‘The tempo of training, sparring, strength and conditioning has developed her no end.
‘Both girls have very bright futures to look forward to.
‘And everyone is very proud of both of them.’