Shona Whitwell finally got her hands on her Team England vest this week after fighting for her country for the first time last year.

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The 16-year-old St Ives Boxing Club star has big ambitions and wants to be part of Team GB by the time the 2016 Rio Olympics roll around. But perhaps a more realistic target is the Olympics Games of 2020 which will take place in Japan.

“Team GB are keen to keep working with Shona because she is boxing at a good level and is also the top junior girl in the country at 60k,” said her father and coach Steve Whitwell.

“That weight is one of only three Olympic weights for female boxers, so hopefully Shona will maintain that weight for the future.”

But it is an expensive business, fighting worldwide in preparation for an appearance at what is essentially – in boxing at least – an amateur event.

“We are desperate for sponsorship for Shona to keep competing at a good level and be able to develop into a potential GB boxer,” said Whitwell. “This involves a lot of time travelling and training in Sheffield and kit requirements that clubs like ours, which are self funded and non profit, can’t afford.

“We appeal to any local companies or individuals who would like to support grass roots boxing and sponsor Shona so she has the best chance of reaching her goal and doesn’t get left too far behind.

“Shona has a great chance of regular success on the international stage but without financial help it is going to be a struggle to get her there.”

Whitwell will be boxing at St Ives’s next home show – on March 22 – along with the rest of the team, including another promising youngster, Bradley Smith, who is also making a name for himself. “I believe Bradley will also break into the England squad this year,” said his coach.

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