Heart of Portsmouth boxer closing in on GB dream

Ivy-Jane Smith is making her mark on the big stage

IVY-JANE SMITH’S celebrating a bronze medal on her senior debut for Great Britain.

The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) ace has moved a big stride closer to a permanent GB Boxing place after impressing with her showing at the Nations’ Cup in Serbia.

Smith has stepped up with an impressive showing at senior level, despite only recently moving up from the youth category.

The 18-year-old beat host-nation boxer Jovanka Radulovic with a fine performance to pave the way for a meeting with Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova.

Smith underlined the potential against an opponent who picked up an Olympic bronze medal after losing to Nicola Adams in Rio two years ago.

But the split-decision verdict went against the AIBA Youth Women’s World Championship silver medallist, despite many observers believing she’d done enough to win.

Her performance at 51kg undoubtedly puts her firmly on the radar of GB bosses, however, moving forward.

HOP head coach, Q Shillingford, believes Smith has made her mark.

He said: Ivy is only just 18 and boxing for GB as an elite senior boxer.

‘GB have been over the moon with her performance, attitude and professionalism.

‘She beat the home fighter well and then took on the Olympic bronze medallist.

‘She lost a tight decision to a girl who reached the semi-finals at the Olympics.

‘A lot of people thought she’d won it, including me, and the supervisor at the event said he felt she was boxer of the tournament.

‘Her commitment and dedication has been second to none. The only days she had off from training was Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

‘She’s pushed her case forward to go full time on the GB boxing team.

‘Hopefully she’s made the coaches realise she deserves a place on the Podium squad and can compete with the best around the world.’

Smith now looks set to remain at 51kg moving forward as she aims to secure a GB squad place.

Drayton ace Ebonie Jones, who is now in the army, is also involved in the GB set-up as she aims to add to her decorated junior and youth career at senior level.

Shillingford said: ‘Ivy has moved down to 51kg from the World Championships.

‘The reason for that was she was weighing in at around 52kg and that was giving her opponents a weight advantage.

‘So she’s lost the other kilo and GB took her over to Serbia at 51kg.

‘It’s great because we’ve got Ivy involved with GB and also Ebonie Jones, who is involved in the programme and with the army.

‘It’s great to have two boxers flying the flag for the city of Portsmouth.’

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