SHONA Whitwell of St Ives Boxing Club fought in Manchester just before Christmas and retained her national schoolgirl title when she stopped Amber Lewis from South Holland ABC in the first round.

Whitwell is coached by her father, Steve Whitwell, and he says he is extremely proud of his daughter, who begins the 2012 season as a British champion.

"This was Shona's first stoppage win and it couldn't have come at a better time with so many good girl boxers coming through," said Whitwell. "It is nice not to rely on the judges' scores."

He continued: "This gives Shona her second national title and her ninth win in 11 contests. We have just about run out of competition in this country now and this year I will start looking at tournaments in Ireland and Europe to ensure she gets the bouts she needs to progress.

"She is very keen to go on and represent England in the future and with 2012 being the first Olympics to feature women's boxing, she has a lot of goals to aim for.

"As her dad I am very proud of her achievements so far - and with all the boxers putting St Ives firmly on the map. We should have more success in national championships with other boxers before long, too."

Having had two opponents pull out, Whitwell was even forced to move up a weight to the 54k category, giving away two kilos to Lewis, but this made little difference.

Her opponent came out all guns blazing but Whitwell showed some nice strong counter punching and caught her with some sharp left crosses to force a standing count early on in the first round. When the referee let them continue, more of the same followed with Whitwell punching well off the back foot. Another standing count followed and then the bout was waved off.

Tersoo Sugden also competed in the national championships and got to the semi final of the novice class A super heavyweight division. He boxed Wole Adesmoye from Dale Youth ABC and lost on a very close 22-19 points-decision.

Sugden had previously lost to Adesmoye so was keen for revenge but after taking a count in the first round he had it all to do.

He had a storming second round, putting the muscular Adesmoye on the back foot and picking up vital points to put him firmly back in the fight - but Sugden let his hands drop a bit too much in the last round and gave away a few cheap points which just left him trailing at the final bell.

Whitwell said: "Tersoo did show how much he has improved since he joined the club and we are looking to class B championships next season.

"He has a lot going for him and could become one of the top super heavyweights in the country with a couple more years experience."