The World Series of Boxing is set for an explosive end to its regular season when the British Lionhearts team puts its 100% home record on-the-line against the Ukraine Otamans in front of a packed house at York Hall this Friday (1 March 2013).
The star-studded line-ups include Olympic silver medallist, Fred Evans and reigning European champions, Andrew Selby and Joe Ward for the Lionhearts. The Otamans team features the man regarded as the world’s finest Olympic boxer, Vasyl Lomachenko and fellow 2012 gold medallist, Oleksandr Usyk who will face Sam Maxwell and Joe Joyce respectively from the British team.
Despite being outpointed by Lomachenko in January’s away fixture in Kiev, lightweight, Maxwell is undaunted by the prospect of a re-match with his illustrious opponent and expects to be stronger on home soil.
Maxwell said: “Everyone looks-up to Lomachenko. People see him as the best fighter out there so if I can get close it shows that I deserve to be right up there too.
“It was a good learning experience to box him earlier in the season however I think I gave him too much respect the first time around. When I watched the fight back I saw I had been too tentative, so this time it is about putting more venom in my shots and bringing out my nasty side.
“I remember when I drew Albert Selimov at the 2011 Olympic qualifier and no-one outside of our team gave me a chance. I beat him then so there is no reason why lightning cannot strike for a second time.”
The match will be the Ukranian’s debut at York Hall and his first return to London since he won the lightweight gold at 2012.
Lomachenko said: “We are coming with a very strong squad. It will be great to come back to London, I have great memories associated with this city and I am already getting a special feeling inside about this trip. I have heard that York Hall is a very famous venue with a great atmosphere, so it will be fantastic to compete in a place with such a great boxing history.”
The heavyweight contest offers a fascinating match-up between the Ukranian Olympic champion, Usyk, and the Lionhearts’ Joe Joyce who has emerged as the find of the season in the World Series of Boxing, winning all four of his contests. Despite his lack of experience, Joyce is the number one ranked heavyweight in the competition and defeated the 2012 individual World Series Boxing champion, Filip Hrgovic in his last outing.
Joyce said: “World Series Boxing has been great for me. The shows have been fantastic and it has been really good to be part of a new team that has done so well in its first season in the competition. Usyk is a good boxer and will present me with a different set of challenges but my training and preparation has been very good and I am looking forward to the contest.”
Usyk said: “It will be a great evening of boxing as two strong line-ups will collide. We are definitely coming to win. I have, personally, always won in the UK and I intend to win again when we come to York Hall.”
A few tickets remain for the match, which is expected to sell-out, and can be purchased at www.britishlionhearts.com/tickets.
Whatever the outcome of the match, the British Lionhearts are guaranteed to finish in third place in Group B of the World Series of Boxing and will face home and away ties against Mexico Guerreros in the quarter-finals of the competition. The home tie will be held at York Hall on Friday 22 March 2013 and tickets can be purchased at www.britishlionhearts.com/tickets.
Established in 2010, the World Series of Boxing is a national team boxing competition made-up of 12 teams from across the world. A match between two international franchises consists of bouts in five weight categories: bantamweight (54kg), lightweight (61kg), middleweight (73kg), light-heavyweight (85kg) and heavyweight (91kg+).
Competitors box without vests and head guards and the World Series Boxing scoring system is based on the ‘ten point must system’. Each bout is decided by the scores of three judges or by a knockout, technical knockout, disqualification or walk over. There are five three-minute rounds in each bout and the team that wins the most number of bouts wins the match.
For more information on the British Lionhearts see www.britishlionhearts.com or follow @Brit_Lionhearts on twitter.