European champion Ebonie Jones was destined for glory the day she first pulled on boxing gloves.
That is the view of Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) boxing head coach Q Shillingford who marked the 16-year-old out as a ‘champion’ the moment she walked through the city club’s doors three years ago.
Jones confirmed her meteoric rise in the sport by being crowned the continent’s best fighter at 50kg yesterday in Assisi, Italy.
The Charter Academy student recorded an impressive unanimous points victory over Poland’s Agata Kawecka.
The Drayton talent had delivered unanimous successes in all three previous contests – giving each and every one of her opponents standing counts.
Orthodox Kawecka, a champion in her native Poland, proved a trickier opponent, though.
And Jones had to be at her best to bounce back from a close first round which was awarded to her rival.
Clean, powerful shots ensured proceedings were level going into a third and final round showdown, where the HOP boxer outworked and outmanoeuvred Kawecka to win in style.
Shillingford said: ‘The day Ebonie walked into my gym and started training, she had champion written on her forehead.
‘She didn’t know it and people couldn’t see it.
‘But I looked at her and thought: “She’s the one.”
‘She has not changed.
‘Her mentality, commitment and dedication – everything is faultless.’
Golden girl Jones adds European Championship glory to an already impressive CV, including EU Championships and Nations’ Cup titles, as well as a World Championship bronze medal.
But Shillingford, who is also a performance coach with Great Britain, explained his young protégé, who has been placed on GB’s emerging talent programme is now coveting global supremacy.
Shillingford said: ‘As a club we are ecstatic and very proud of Ebonie.
‘We’ve proven to GB that she is world class.
‘She is already on the emerging talent programme, so once a month she is brought up to Sheffield for training.
‘But what we want is her training up there every two weeks.
‘After speaking to the GB coaches, she is firmly on the pathway for the Olympic Games.
‘Because of her age she is too young to qualify for Rio.
‘But she will be aiming for the next Commonwealth Games in Queensland 2018 and has Tokyo 2020 Olympics as a long-term aim.
‘We want her to be world champion as well.’
Shillingford praised everyone at HOP who has been part of Jones’ success.
He added: ‘Ebonie has had top sparring with her team-mates at HOP.
‘There also has to be special thanks to our coach Colin Williams and the work her dad, Chipper, has done with her to get ready.’