A split decision defeat for Joe Joyce dented the super-heavyweight’s hopes of qualifying early for the 2016 Olympics as the British Lionhearts lost 4-1 to the Russian Boxing Team in the World Series of Boxing last night at The Brewery in London.
Joyce’s loss to Babanin Maksim was his first defeat in an otherwise excellent season and means he now has to hope that his closest rival for the sole super heavyweight qualification slot, Filip Hrgovic of Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, slips-up in one of his two remaining contests.
It was a disappointing end to an evening that had begun well for the Lionhearts when Kelvin De La Nieve comprehensively outboxed Russia’s Vasilii Vetkin to record his first win of the season and put the Lionhearts one up after the flyweight contest.
A victory for Adlan Abdurashidov over Oualid Belaoura in the lightweight bout evened the scores with a unanimous victory for the Russian.
The next bout saw a terrific battle between the number one ranked welterweight in WSB, Radzhab Butaev, and Commonwealth Games champion, Scott Fitzgerald. A slow start by the Briton ceded the early advantage to Butaev but a strong fightback saw Fitzgerald test the Russian with a series of hard-hitting body punches as he grew into the contest.
In the end it was not enough to prevent Butaev from edging a split decision victory, however Fitzgerald can take heart from a creditable debut performance in WSB against one of the best boxers in the whole competition.
A narrow defeat for light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (48-47 on all three judges’ scorecards) against Pavel Silyagin ensured the Russians won the match before Maksim’s victory over Joyce made the final score 4-1 in the last bout of the evening.
Next up for the British Lionhearts is the team’s final home match of the season against the Cuba Domodores at the Copper Box Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London on Thursday 16 April 2015.
Discounted advanced purchase tickets to see the match are on sale now at http://tickets.sky.com/Other/World-Series-of-Boxing priced £10 (lower seating and upper concourse) and £25 (ringside) for adults and £5 and £12.50 for under-16s.
Tickets will be on sale on the night priced £15 and £30 for adults and £7.50 and £15 for under-16s.
More details on the British Lionhearts and WSB are available at http://www.worldseriesboxing.com/ and by following the team on twitter at @Brit_Lionhearts.
WSB is the only Global Team Boxing competition where national teams go head to head in a league format. Developed by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), this unique competition brings together the best Olympic and national boxers in an exciting team format with worldwide appeal. Season V sees 16 teams compete in two groups of 8 with the top 3 teams qualifying for play offs. The boxers compete without vests or headguards in five three-minute rounds. There are five bouts per match and scoring is through the 10-Point-Must-System.