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Page last updated at 22:16 GMT, Sunday, 6 June 2010 23:16 UK

Natasha Jonas & Nina Smith win in women's boxing finals

By Nabil Hassan
BBC Sport in Portsmouth

Nina Smith
Nina Smith competes in the 51 Kg flyweight division

Natasha Jonas added to her growing reputation as one of British boxing's best amateurs with a stunning victory at the women's ABAE finals.

Southpaw Jonas, who is part of Great Britain's elite female boxing squad, was competing at her first major tournament since dropping down to the 60kg lightweight category.

The 25-year-old from Liverpool turned in a fine performance, stopping opponent Rebecca Donnelly in the third round after the referee called a halt to the contest due to the three-count rule.

Elsewhere there were victories for Nina Smith, also part of the GB squad, Leah Flintham, Hayley Webb and Chantelle Cameron.

Smith's fight with Sharon Holford proved to be an entertaining spectacle which despite the final points score of 42-25 was evenly contested throughout.

Smith, from Essex, who boxes out of the Chadwell St Mary club, recently pipped Sunday's opponent to a place in GB's elite squad and it was evident from the off that Holford wanted to prove a point to the selectors.

606: DEBATE

But Smith's high-octane, high-energy style saw her catch the judges' eyes and it was the Essex fighter who claimed victory in the 51kg flyweight category.

"I always knew that it would be a tear-up as Sharon's style is to come forward and I knew that I'd have to box off the ropes a lot," Smith told BBC Sport.

"I felt like I wanted to keep my distance a lot more than I did, but I'm happy with my performance. I'm happy to have won.

"We boxed last year and I lost a close fight so I wanted to get my revenge. It's important to keep winning these domestic fights."

Cameron (Kings Heath) continued to show her potential as a GB star of the future with an impressive 27-15 victory over Alana Murphy in the 63.5kg category.

Flintham from the Haringey Police boxing club also boxed well in her 44-22 win over Lauren West (Ernie Oxers ABA) in the women's 54kg final.

Webb, from the Police Boxing Association, fought out a closely contested 57kg final with Lisa Gibbons (Larches & Savick), eventually prevailing 22-16.

But it was Jonas who stole the show, proving why she is being tipped to lead Britain's medal challenge at London 2012.

Jonas, from the Rotunda amateur boxing club, was ranked in the world's top 10 at her previous weight category of 64kg and will now look to make similar progress in the lightweight division.

"I started off a bit slow in the first round and I got a stern telling off. I improved in the second round and was just pleased to get the stoppage," she told BBC Sport.

Jonas, Smith and the rest of the GB elite squad will next turn their attention to September's World Championship in Barbados after a training camp in Crete this summer.



see also
Female boxer eyes Olympic history
16 Apr 10 |  Boxing
GB Boxing selects women's squad
26 Mar 10 |  Olympics
Olympic boost for women's boxing
22 May 09 |  Boxing
Ex-pro McCracken to guide GB team
05 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Women's boxing gains Olympic spot
13 Aug 09 |  Olympics
Amateur boxing explained
01 Mar 06 |  Boxing


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