BOXING: Bronze medal on the European stage will enhance the Commonwealth Games hopes of St Ives star Shona Whitwell
- Credit: Archant
Shona Whitwell has collected a bronze medal at the European Union Female Boxing Championships.
Success in Italy capped a fine debut season at senior level for the St Ives Boxing Academy star in the 60kg bracket following national and British title triumphs.
Whitwell was beaten at the semi-final stage by Finnish fighter Mira Potkonen, a former Olympic medallist with the vast experience of more than 150 career fights – three times as many as the local boxer.
But Whitwell’s exploits at the event in Cascia, where she previously beat one of the pre-tournament favourites – Agnes Alexiusson of Sweden – at the quarter-final stage, have only served to highlight her talent.
According to her father, and trainer, Steve Whitwell, she is well placed to earn a place at the Commonwealth Games next year.
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He said: “Coming away with a bronze medal from her first international tournament at senior level is an amazing achievement for Shona.
“She is in prime position now to be selected for the Commonwealth Games and hopefully some very exciting times lie ahead.
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“We’re very optimistic that she will be taken on full-time as part of the GB training programme ahead of the Olympics in 2020.”
Potkonen won all three rounds of the European semi-final clash but Whitwell showed terrific heart to hear the final bell after being bloodied and wobbled by a series of big shots in the final round.
And Whitwell snr was quick to insist there was no shame in his daughter losing to the eventual champion. Potkonen went on to win the final the following day.
He added: “Shona was bitterly disappointed after the defeat, but there was no need to be.
“Potkonen is the world number four and losing to her while only 19 years of age is nothing to get too upset about.
“Potkonen was a better boxer than I imagined and her strength was also evident. Shona had to go into survival mode towards the end of the fight, but she has never needed a count in 47 bouts and showed so much determination to keep that proud record going.”