Portsmouth's Ebonie Jones gets big stage treatment for much-anticipated professional boxing debut
Ebonie Jones steps into the ring this weekend for a moment she thought might never arrive.
One of Team GB's top female boxers during her amateur days, the Portsmouth fighter makes her professional bow on the undercard of Chris Eubank Jr's latest bout live on Sky Sports at Wembley Arena on Saturday.
It's sure to be quite the occasion for Jones, 23, who had given up on the sport completely a little under two years ago.
The former Heart of Portsmouth member had become so disillusioned with trying to make the limited weight categories for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics she walked away from boxing completely.
But, after heading along to train at Guildford City Boxing Club with John Edwards, it wasn't long before she gained her pro licence and signed an 18-month promotional deal with BOXXER.
Now highly rated Jones is just days away from her maiden professional featherweight battle against Lithuanian Vaida Masiokaite - and the Stamshaw-based boxer cannot wait to grace the big stage at Wembley Arena.
She said: ‘I couldn’t ask for better (debut fight). People probably have to go through a lot of fights to get this sort of venue so to have it for my debut is brilliant.
‘I think because of my amateur record it’s helped me get to here. I’ve been training in Guildford with John Edwards, got my pro licence, a month or two went by and he told me Boxxer, who had just signed a deal with Sky Sports were interested, so I signed with them.
‘This time last year I would never have imagined it, to be honest. Female pro boxing is just getting bigger all the times - it’s just an exciting time, really.
‘You do appreciate it a lot more because I didn’t come straight from GB, I had a couple of years out from boxing, I went through a time where I felt lost and I didn’t know what was going on with boxing.
‘To get to this point now, my pro debut at Wembley Arena in a few days’ time, it’s going to make me appreciate it a lot more - I’m really grateful.’
Jones will be making her ring return following a near three-year absence this weekend.
Her last bout came back in November 2018 when she suffered a World Championship defeat to India's Pinki Rani in New Dehli.
And Jones can hardly believe the platform she's been provided to perform on for her long-awaited return.
She said: ‘I was thinking I’d get the ring rust off with a little small hall show, but I’ve got one of the best venues I could ask for. I’m not complaining, I’m happy and excited to be fighting there, a lot of friends and family are coming up from Portsmouth.
‘I just want to get back fighting, enjoying it, just take every fight as it comes.’