Ebonie Jones winner Class 1, 46Kg
The Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy (H.O.P) was celebrating this weekend after 3 of the 4 ran out winners and Gold medalist after an afternoon of non stop action at the ABAE Female National Championships 2011. Also one of the boxers was selected to attend an England squad training camp after a performance of a lifetime in front of the England selectors.

First H.O.P boxer to enter the ring was Ebonie Jones who faced Melissa Hall (Salisbury ABC, Liverpool). Jones set the pace from the start not allowing her taller and more experience opponent get the chance to use her reach and height advantage. Jones non stop aggressive attack began to take it’s toll even at the end of the first round, when some heavy punches got through the high guard. In the second Jones stepped up the tempo this time switching from head to body with devastating non stop attacks. In the third, it was one way traffic as Jones saw the title in sight and did not stop punching for the full third round. Ebonie Jones became England National Champion (Class 1, 46kg) with a winning score of 19 – 9.

Second H.O.P boxer to compete for their National title was Matilda (Tilly) Evans at 52kg (Class 2) Evans boxed to instructions against a very stocky and strong opponent; however Evans backed up Louise Cryan (Feltham Police ABC) with straight punch combinations. Evans increased the work rate in the last round, using two phased attacks and a very high work rate as she won the contest with a score of 21 – 8 to become the ABAE National Female Champion 2011 in her division.

Tilly Evans with GB Elite Boxer Natasha Jonas
H.O.P’s third ABA National Female Champion enjoyed her win as Natasha Cole got a revenge decision after not winning in last years National final by 2 points, Cole made sure of the decision this time as she kept her very strong and aggressive opponent Jasmine Yates (Windrush Valley) at bay with good jabs and rear hand counters. Cole boxed very well, keeping her opponent off balance by using some very slick footwork and fast combination punching. Cole then pressed home her advantage with fast and accurate flurry’s. Cole won her title on a 21 – 14 points win.

Tasha Cole with GB Elite Boxer Natasha Jonas
The 2009 National Female Champion and H.O.P’s exciting prospect Ashleigh Pond fell short by two points (9-7) to the countries top boxer Crystal Barker ((Bridgewater, Salford ABC), but not after Pond put her very experience and highly rated opponent through 3 tough rounds of non stop action. All was looking even at the end of the bout so the decision was truly left to the judges. On a positive note, Pond has been invited to attend an England Female Squad Training Weekend next month, by the England Selection team which shows just how well she boxed.

Ashleigh Pond with GB Elite Boxer Natasha Jonas
H.O.P Boss “Q” Shillingford said: The whole team did a great job, all the boxers gave it everything, Jones took on an opponent from one of the top clubs in the country and won, Evans boxed her heart out, never giving up and showing great mental strength to win her title, Cole was so positive and determined to win, the national title was always going to be with her at the end and Pond who put in a performance of a lifetime even though she did not win has now been invited to attend an England squad training session on the back of her performance. “Q” added H.O.P’s junior boxer’s coaches Paul Kapnisi and Brian Featherstone did a fantastic job getting the boxers ready and instructing them in the ring, throughout the bouts. This was a great event for Portsmouth, Hampshire and the South of England, as the South showed its strength in the North in amateur boxing.

Harringay Cup Assault:

Eight HOP Boxers are in action at this year Harringay Cup (Thu 16th – Sun 19th Jun ’11) The Harringay Cup first round on Thursday 16th Jun 2011, which is being staged at the Alexander Palace in London. This is a tough championship boxed over 4 days with a rest day on Friday, where boxers from all over Europe can enter. The exciting Southern Counties ABA Champion Michael Ballingall at (64kg youth class) will be in action, H.O.P’s ABA Semi Finalist Robbie Matthews has also entered at a heavier weight (64kg open class) as will British University National Finalist Terry Singh at 60kg (U10 bts). The up and coming Luke Sylvio is at 71 kg division, in the heavier division H.O.P’s big hitters cruiserweight Biola Kudus 86kg and Heavyweight Greg Bridett 91kg will be representing, on the female side, ABA Female National Champion 2011 Natasha Cole is back in action at her championship weight 67kg, as is H.O.P’s Leeanne Bourne at 60kg division.

This is exciting times for amateur boxing in the city: all the boxers are ready and will box whoever is in front of them at the tournament. These young people are a shinning example of what can be done if you put your mind to it and “Do not let your Fears stand in the way of your dreams”.