EBONIE JONES is targeting World Championship glory after her latest title success.
And Heart of Portsmouth’s (HOP) Olympic prospect believes she has silenced the doubters after she recorded Nations’ Cup victory on her bow at youth level.
Jones stepped up to her new age category in Serbia as she took on opposition up to 18 months older than her.
But the 16-year-old had no problem making her marauding style count as she picked up three wins to take the prestigious title.
The Drayton teenager felt the results underlined she was comfortable moving up, as she recorded a final win over Kazakhstan’s Mahabat Abdimanapova at 51kg.
Now she is planning a huge year of success after taking the title.
Next up is the worlds, which take place in Taiwan in May, before the Euros and Commonwealth Youth Games in September.
Collecting a world crown is Jones’ big focus, after winning bronze in Bulgaria last year.
She is confident that can be achieved in her new category.
‘I’m boxing older people now I’m at youth level. The opponents can be up to 18,’ said Jones.
‘To be honest, I didn’t really notice much of a difference, though.
‘I’m feeling stronger now.
‘My final opponent was really tall and skinny so I knew I had to keep dominating the fight.
‘I was told to take the centre of the ring. Then it’s about keeping pressure on them.
‘I know my work-rate will be a lot more than theirs in the end.
‘You can’t afford to get pushed back or the judges will think the other person is winning.
‘To win my first tournament at youth level is important.
‘There might have been some people who thought I couldn’t do it at an older level.
‘So it’s nice to be able to prove those people wrong and win gold.
‘It’s good preparation for the World Championships and Europeans this year.
‘Then there’s the youth Commonwealths in September in Samoa. That would be brilliant to go to. The worlds is the main thing, though.
‘I’d be absolutely buzzing to get a gold there.’
Jones has found herself in demand since returning to England after her latest win.
There has been plenty of media interest in her success, which the talent has had to negotiate despite picking up an illness.
Jones gave an interview to Sky Sports ahead of a documentary on HOP that will be screened in the next couple of weeks.
But now it’s about a rest period for her – before gearing up for what lies ahead.
She said: ‘I’ve been ill since I’ve got back and know I need to rest up.
‘I haven’t been ill for two years. Maybe it’s all the build-up and training for Serbia.
‘I’m supposed to be going training with Great Britain in Sheffield on Saturday but I don’t want to go and not perform.
‘If I don’t let it get better I won’t get better.’
Jones’ position as the best boxer in the country in her weight category is well established.
A number of national titles at 51kg have underlined that position with a semi-final win last year followed by her opponent pulling out at the last stage.
The youngster has been informed by GB coaches, though, that she can expect competition for her place moving forward.
And Jones knows that means there can be no resting on her laurels if she wants to represent England and Great Britain at the biggest competitions.
‘The coaches seem really impressed and they keep reminding us we’ve got a really busy year coming up,’ added Jones.
‘Amanda Coulson (GB coach) is talking about there being more than one girl at each weight.
‘That’s good because it will make me train more with it being more competitive.
‘There will be girls out to take my spot – so I will have to be on my game.’