The British Lionhearts lost a tough away fixture in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) tonight, going down 3-2 to the Morocco Atlas Lions in Casablanca.
Wins by the Scouse duo, Antony Fowler and Sam Maxwell – who both have two wins and no defeats this season – were not enough to prevent a loss for the Lionhearts team which endured a difficult night in Casablanca against a tough and aggressive Moroccan team who took full advantage of being at home.
The Atlas Lions took first blood in the opening bout of the night as the Moroccan National Champion, Zouhair El Bekkali, secured a unanimous points victory over Ashley Williams in the light-flyweight contest.
Williams showed a greater work rate and troubled the Moroccan with his willingness to go forward however the rangy, El Bekkali, landed the cleaner shots and stifled the Welshman to take the bout on all three scorecards.
The bantamweight contest saw the Moroccan team extend its lead to 2-0 as Mohamed Hamout overcame Qais Ashfaq of the British Lionhearts. Ashfaq started well, counter-attacking from the backfoot, but the Moroccan’s aggressive tactics saw him fight his way back into the contest as he charged forward and imposed his brawling style on the bout to take the victory.
A fine performance by Sam Maxwell in the light-welterweight contest pulled one back for the Lionhearts as the man from Liverpool showed skill and power to defeat Hamza El Barbari and secure his second win of the season in WSB.
He was followed into the ring by fellow Liverpudlian, Antony Fowler, who dominated Said Harnouf in the middleweight contest from the first bell, sending the Moroccan to the canvas three times in the opening two rounds.
The re-opening of a cut to Fowler’s forehead in the second round provided a scare for the Lionhearts but the Commonwealth Games gold medallist showed maturity and superior boxing skills to protect the cut and see out the contest to secure a unanimous victory and even the match at 2-2.
It set-up the possibility of superb comeback by the Lionhearts, however the team’s Romanian heavyweight, Ionut-Mirel Jitaru, was unable to deliver and lost by TKO, when he was forced to retire with a shoulder injury, and hand the win to Lithuanian, Vitalijus Subacius, giving the Atlas Lions a 3-2 victory on the night.
Next-up for the Lionhearts is a home match against the Algeria Desert Hawks on Thursday 5 February 2015 at York Hall in London. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.ticketsdirect.org.uk/wsboxing priced £10 adults, £5 children (under 16).
More details on the Lionhearts and WSB are available at http://www.worldseriesboxing.com/ and by following the team on twitter at @Brit_Lionhearts.