EBONIE JONES secured a silver medal in style at the Nations’ Cup yesterday.
The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) ace delivered a display of quality and controlled aggression to book a final spot on the international stage in Serbia.
Jones took a clear points win in England colours as she defeated Greece’s gutsy Plea Foteini at 51kg.
That means she is now just a single win from yet another huge title after stepping up to youth level for the first time.
Jones was always the dominant force in the match-up as she claimed the centre of the ring throughout.
The 16-year-old unloaded more shots, enjoyed more success, showed greater variety in her work and landed the heavier blows.
Jones made her taller opponent over-reach with her punches and then replied with lively two-phase attacks.
The European and EU champion got caught coming forward in the second and a less intense third round was a closer affair.
But the result was never in doubt as the Cosham dynamo stepped on the gas in the fourth.
HOP head coach Q Shillingford was delighted to see Jones show her maturity, despite being in with older boxers as she steps up from the junior category.
Shillingford said: ‘It was a good bout and the Greek girl was at a good level.
‘But Ebonie was well on top and in control throughout.
‘Everything we’ve been working on was put to good use.
‘The Greek girl was taller but Ebonie made her stretch and miss – and then countered.
‘There were some great right-hand shots we’ve been working on.
‘Ebonie controlled the tempo of the contest from the centre of the ring.
‘The judges are looking for dominance and that’s what Ebonie gave them.
‘She hurt the girl a few times and showed her strength.
‘Even in the clinches she was the one trying get out of them and let shots go. That gets noted.
‘Now she’s in the final again. It’s unreal!’
Kazakhstan’s Mahabat Abdimanapova now stands between Jones and another victory on the big stage of amateur boxing in tomorrow’s final.
The Eurasian Games winner overcame her Kazakh team-mate Nazerke Jurgaraeva to progress to the last round.
Jones will have to overcome her rival’s height and reach advantages if she is took take the title.
But that is something she is used to nullifying with her frenetic pressure tactics.
Shillingford expects Abdimanapova to pose problems with her pedigree.
But he is confident Jones will have the answers and can emerge victorious – if she’s at her best.
Shillingford said: ‘Ebonie will have a rest today and then make sure she’s sharp for the final tomorrow.
‘The Kazakh has a style where she will try to stay on the outside.
‘They are one of the powerhouses of amateur boxing, so I’m sure they will be prepared and have their tactics. They will try to surprise her.
‘So Ebonie can’t afford to take her foot off the gas for a second.
‘I’m sure if she is on her game she will be able to shine through.’