BOXING: Promising fighter Harli Whitwell follows sister Shona into England setup
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Boxing Club starlet Harli Whitwell has been selected to fight for England in an upcoming international tournament, following in the footsteps of older sister Shona.
Harli, 16, will be donning her gloves in the GB Junior and Youth Three Nations tournament in April, which will also feature the best young fighters from Scotland and Wales.
And, following an impressive showing in recent months, the teenager could also earn herself a slot in the European Championships, taking place in Bulgaria, in May. Harli has been invited to train with the England setup at a selection camp taking place at the weekend.
Dad Steve, who trains both Harli and sister Shona, believes it could be the first time two sisters have ever boxed at national level at the same time.
Speaking ahead of the three nations tournament, he said: “This will be Harli’s first appearance for England and with her sister already ranked third in Europe and a regular England boxer, this could be the first time two sisters have been in the England squad at the same time.”
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Harli secured her place in the squad with a super showing in the 60kg final at the National Youth Championships, held in Rotherham, on Saturday.
Harli faced off against experienced England international Sadie Thomas, 18 months her senior, in the showpiece event and went toe-to-toe with her opponent throughout.
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Though Thomas was given the title on a split decision, Whitwell snr believes it will only be a matter of time before Harli overcomes her more experienced opponents.
Shona, meanwhile, was also in action on Saturday, fighting on the undercard of the youth championships event.
She faced off against Annelle Massey, from Rumbles Boxing, in Kent, for the southern area lightweight. It was just a second senior fight for Shona but she showed no signs of inexperience as she produced a masterful display against a tricky opponent.
Shona, 19, dominated all three rounds and collected the win by unanimous decision.
St Ives Boxing Club is hosting its first show of the season on Saturday at the performing arts centre at Hinchingbrooke School, in Huntingdon. Tickets are £15 on the door, which opens at 7.30pm. There are also some last-minute dinner tickets available at £40 starting at 6pm.