St Ives boxing star Shona Whitwell is out to rule the world.
The 17-year-old has been selected to fight for England in the 60kg class at the AIBA Women’s Junior and Youth World Championships.
Whitwell flew out to China today (Wednesday) for a week-long preparatory camp before journeying on to Taipei, on the island of Taiwan, for the event which run from May 14 to 24.
And the St Ivo School sixth-former is determined to challenge for a medal during her Asian adventure.
She said: “I’m really proud to have been selected to box in the world championships.
“I’ve done a lot of hard training with Team GB in Sheffield.
“The competition is going to be very tough, but I want to do the best I possibly can and I would love to win a medal.”
It is not Whitwell’s first taste of overseas competition after she fought in the European Championships in Hungary two years ago.
She suffered a first-round exit on that occasion and subsequently fell down the England and Great Britain pecking order.
But she has battled back to her best and got the nod for the World Championships over reigning national champion Ellie Scotney.
And Whitwell’s coach and father, Steve, is convinced she can compete with the best in her division.
He admitted: “After Shona lost in the national youth championships back in January we thought any chance of selection for the World Championships had gone, but she has really impressed during several selection weekends at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
“She has been pitted against all the other top girls in the country and has been picked.
“It has taken her two years to fight her way back into international contention after the European Championships in 2013 and it proves that hard work and dedication, in addition to natural talent, can ensure you hit your goals.
“She is hopeful of repaying the selectors’ faith with a good performance in Taiwan when she will not only have to deal with boxing against some very good opposition, but also the heat, the food and dehydration.
“It is a very tall order, but she can beat anyone in the world in her division. We just need a bit of luck with the draw.”
Shona and Steve are hugely grateful to two important sponsors – Opalbond and Regin Products – whose support has proved invaluable during her glittering amateur career.