In the headliner of Sanigar Events’ show at the Ice Arena Wales, Ebbw Vale’s Ashley Brace (7-0-1, 3KO) earned a wide Unanimous Decision to defeat Germany’s Xenia Jorneac (8-3, 2KO).
Brace, who has already won the World Boxing Council (WBC) International title, made history by becoming the first British woman to win the prestigious European Boxing Union (EBU) title. It came courtesy of deserved 99-91, 99-91 and 100-90 scorecards.
It was her second attempt, having drawn with Spain’s Melania Sorroche for the bantamweight belt in December. That experience promoted Brace to move down in weight to super-fly and she needed two attempts to make the 115lbs limit.
The duo sustained a high output from the start, taking it in turns to push the other back and their matching enthusiasm led to clinches that cancelled each other out in the early rounds. There wasn’t much to separate them but Brace usually had the first and last say in exchanges.
As the contest entered the second half, Brace was succesful in finding gaps in Jorneac’s defence. The sixth round saw him send Jorneac stumbling in to the ropes and then score with a crisp counter as the German wildly attempted to return the favour.
Brace, who is trained by Tony Borg at St Joseph’s Boxing Club, was comfortable enough to switch stances in the seventh round and it appeared to confuse Jorneac, who wasn’t used to facing a fellow southpaw. The pair dispensed with the long range exchanges at the end of the session, though – unloading flurries excite the crowd.
Journey became more aggressive in the final two rounds but the quality of punches picked didn’t match her effort. Brace showed a more diverse locket, popping away with straight shots and landing body shots when Jorneac held her feet for too long.
Thankfully, Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone, was more anonymous than on his previous visit to Cardiff. Two weeks ago, the official received heavy criticism for his handling of Anthony Joshua’s world title unification against Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium.
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