A HARTLEPOOL boxer is preparing to follow in the footsteps of Savannah Marshall as she stands just two wins away from a national title.
Jemma Wood was given a bye through to the semi-final stage of the ABA’s and will now box in Manchester tomorrow against Pool Of Life ABC contender Katie Smith.
Wood, 19, took a two-year exile from the gym after winning the Junior ABA competition in 2009 but has come back “like a steam train.”
Coach Paul Barnes - founder of the Hartlepool Elite Academy where Wood is now based - has watched her return and, over the last four months of training, he has seen a vast improvement.
He said: “Jemma is a good trainer and really puts the effort in all the time when she is there.
“She has come back like a steam train and has really matured over the last couple of years - she’s hitting harder than she ever did.
“Hopefully she can go down to Manchester, beat her opponent and then go on to win the final.
“It would be fantastic for our gym to see a champion because it would give all the other girls, and the boys, a lift to show that we can produce.
“It is a difficult competition to win because everyone wants this accolade so Jemma will have her work cut out but I am very confident about her chances of becoming national champion.”
Wood used to box out of Hartlepool Catholic Club with Barnes but has returned to the Belle Vue-based Elite Academy, which only opened its doors in September.
For more information about the Academy contact Paul Barnes on 07746136712