BOXING: History beckons for Whitwell sisters as they prepare to fight for England

Shona and Harli Whitwell.

Shona and Harli Whitwell. - Credit: Archant

Two St Ives siblings are set to create a slice of sporting history this weekend.

Shona Whitwell, 19, and Harli Whitwell, 16, will become the first sisters to ever represent England on the same show.

Shona will represent her country in the Haringey Box Cup at the famous Alexandra Palace venue in London, while Harli has been called into the England squad for a youth challenge against Australia as part of the same event.

Shona has enjoyed an outstanding first season at senior level, following up an England Boxing Elite National Championships triumph with Great Britain lightweight glory to earn a place on the world class development programme.

But she now faces arguably her toughest assignment yet with the prospect of having to box three times in as many days to lift the Haringey Box Cup.

She is one of seven fighters enlisted for the event and her rivals will include Louise Orton, who she beat in the national final. Irish champion and world silver medallist, Kelly Harrington, is another notable opponent.

Shona said: “I have already achieved far beyond what I expected in my first season as a senior and another win would be perfect.

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“It would be even more special as Harli is also representing England this weekend. It has always been our dream to both box at the top level.”

And younger sibling Harli, who has racked up a hat-trick of National Amateur Boxing Championship successes in recent years, is just as excited about her outing against Australia.

Her only previous England appearance ended in defeat and she is relishing another opportunity to pull on a national vest.

She said: “It’s great to have the chance to represent my country again.

“Myself and Shona travel all over the country supporting each other, so to be boxing for England on the same show is amazing.”

The Whitwell sisters have warmed up for their outings this weekend by sparring against each other under the tutelage of father and trainer, Steve, at his St Ives Boxing Academy gym.

And he has been mightily impressed with what he has seen from them ahead of a historic weekend.

“They’ve been bouncing off each other and they’re both determined to do well this weekend,” said Whitwell snr.

“I think the extra backing from each other will make all the difference, and I’ll certainly be the loudest supporter at ringside!”