St Ives boxing star Shona Whitwell scored her biggest victory to date by upsetting one of the pre-tournament favourites at the European Union Women’s Boxing Championships on Monday.
The 19-year-old is representing England at her first major senior international tournament and defied the odds to beat Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson in a quarter-final match in the 60kg division.
The tournament is taking place at Cascia, in Italy, and has brought together some of the best fighters the continent has to offer.
Alexiusson is a former two-time world champion at junior and youth level and also a three-time European champion but had no answer for the slick counter-punching Whitwell displayed throughout the three rounds.
Using her superior height reach and boxing skills, the St Ives puncher kept the bout at long range as Alexiusson failed to close the gap and put Whitwell under enough pressure to really cause her any problems.
The judges awarded Whitwell the victory by unanimous decision.
But the challenge doesn’t end there for Whitwell as she now goes forward to the tournament semi-finals on Friday, where she faces off against world-ranked number four Mira Potkonen, from Finland, a bronze medallist from the Rio Olympics.
Steve Whitwell, Shona’s father and trainer, said: “This will be Shona’s toughest test to date and, with only eight months senior boxing behind her, will be a big ask but with her current form I believe she has a great chance of creating the upset of the tournament.
“Shona is the only unranked boxer left in and has already secured a bronze medal but I know she won’t be happy to settle for that and will be doing her best to turn that into a silver at least with a win on Friday.”
Should Whitwell make it through to the final, she could face off against either Ireland’s Kellie Harrington or Italy’s Irma Testa, both of whom are ranked in the world’s top 10.
Steve Whitwell added: “Shona has never had easy routes in competitions so why start now? I do think she has as much chance as anyone to get the gold and it will all depend on who gets it right on the day.”