IT was a night of pain for the British Lionhearts as they lost 4-1 to the Russian Boxing Team at The Brewery in London in the World Series of Boxing, pain made all the more acute as super-heavyweight Joe Joyce’s defeat to Maxim Babanin sees his hopes of early qualification for the next Olympic Games fade.
Babanin, the shorter, fleshier man countered Joyce sharply as the Londoner failed to apply his customary pressure. The Russian took a split decision.
Welterweight Scott Fitzgerald, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist like Joyce, also lost a split decision. High quality Radzhab Butaev cracked lead left hooks over Scott’s guard, starting strongly with real spite in his punches. Fitzgerald proved gritty, withstanding shots and fighting on to the front foot. Butaev was always combative, naturally he found counter-punches and responded with his own attacks when Scott landed. Butaev won deservedly on points and is on course to reach Rio 2016.
Joshua Buatsi couldn’t repeat a victory against Pavel Silyagin as the Russian’s thoughtful performance saw him take a close but unanimous decision over Buatsi.
Russia’s heavy-handed Adlan Abdurashidov pounded out a points victory France’s Oualid Belaoura, while Spanish flyweight Kelvin De La Nieve looked sharp as he picked out scoring blow agains Vassily Vetkin, collecting the solitary victory for the Lionhearts franchise on the night.