Heart of Portsmouth star on brink of world final

Ivy-Jane Smith Picture: England Boxing
Ivy-Jane Smith Picture: England Boxing
Ivy-Jane Smith. Picture: England Boxing

Heart of Portsmouth’s Smith earns shot at world title

Lucas Ballinghall, left, faces Michael Dehamnia in a featherweight contest Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Ballingall’s in a hurry as Birmingham makes return in Pompey

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Ivy-Jane Smith has the mental strength to rise to the occasion on the world stage.

The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) ace has been tipped to handle the pressure when she bids for a place in AIBA Youth Women’s World Championships final today.

Smith has chalked up two unanimous victories in India to secure a bronze medal.

Now she faces a testing challenge against American Isamary Aquino at 54kg, as she aims to book her spot in Sunday’s final.

But HOP coach, Q Shillingford, is certain the 18-year-old has the right attributes to shine.

And Shillingford feels it’s having the strength of mental character which could prove key with Smith in the shape of her life.

He said: ‘Ivy’s armed and ready to rock and roll.

‘She’s picked up two unanimous wins so far and is boxing better than ever before.

‘It’s really exciting and it shows that all the training is paying off.

‘All the England camps and GB camps are building up to this.

‘Her mental attitude is spot on. It always is.

‘And it’s that focus that can make the difference when boxing at this level.’

Smith opened her campaign with a unanimous win over Thailand’s Phonnapa Laban in her first outing on Tuesday.

That was followed up with a unanimous success over Kazakhstan champion, Laura Yessenkeldi on Wednesday.

It’s been a similar story for Aquino, however, who has brushed aside her opposition to progress to the semis.

Two rest days mean both boxers will be rejuvenated when they step into the ring this afternoon.

Shillingford said: ‘The American is a tough and very handy boxer.

‘But what else do you expect in the semi-finals of the World Championships!

‘Ivy is going to have to dig deep and call upon all of her skills.

‘The work is done, though, and that’s money in the bank. Ivy’s good to go.’