SUPER heavyweight, Joe Joyce, maintained his progress towards qualification for the Rio Olympics with his fifth win of the season as the British Lionhearts lost 3-2 to the Morocco Atlas Lions in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) at York Hall in London.
Joyce’s unanimous points victory over Abdelijalil Abouhamda puts him top of WSB’s super-heavyweight rankings with his two main rivals, Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic, who represents the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, and Arlanbek Makhmvdov of the Azerbaijan Baku Fires set to box each other this Saturday.
The boxer which finishes the season top of the super-heavyweight rankings at the end of the regular season will secure a place at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“Qualifying for the Olympics is my goal with WSB so it was important to get the win tonight,” said Joyce. “My two main rivals box each other this weekend and the right result could mean I stay top of the rankings. There are quite a few permutations though so we will just have to see what happens and assess the situation after they have boxed.”
Joyce’s continued good form and an impressive debut victory by Luke McCormack over Abdellah Boudrar in the lightweight contest were the major plus points for the Lionhearts team on a night when they once again found themselves on the wrong end of two split decisions.
At flyweight, Kelvin De La Nieve of the Lionhearts was very unlucky to lose out to Acraf Kharroubi and in a barnstorming light-heavyweight contest a terrific debut performance by Joshua Buatsi went unrewarded as the judges narrowly awarded the split decision to the hugely experienced Dutchman, Peter Mellenberg, who was boxing for the Atlas Lions.
The welterweight contest saw Ekow Essuman lose out when the doctor stopped the contest in the third round due to a cut to his opponent, Mohamed Rabli. The referee decided the cut had been caused accidentally so the contest went to the scorecards where all three judges had the Moroccan leading.
Next for the Lionhearts is an away trip to face the Algeria Desert Hawks on Friday 27 March 2015 followed by a home fixture against the Russian Boxing Team on Thursday 9 April 2015 when Joyce will be hoping to maintain his progress towards Olympic qualification.