WSB: Lionhearts host Morocco seeking overdue win

WSB 18/03/2015

Week ten of Season V in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) begins with British Lionhearts hosting Morocco Atlas Lions in London

The British Franchise have lost their last five WSB fixtures, while Morocco narrowly fell to Mexico Guerreros last week.

These two teams met in week three of the competition when Morocco defeated Britain 3-2 in Casablanca.

York Hall, London is the venue for this Group A clash, where on Thursday 19th March fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 20:00 GMT at AIBABoxingTV.com.

There are just two matches left for each weight class in the Regular Season of WSB, and the race to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games via the rankings system is reaching a speedy ending.

Mohammed Rabii has been Morocco’s best boxer this season, and the number two ranked Welterweight (69 kg) sensationally defeated Olympic gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo in his last bout.

Two Welterweight boxers will earn a quota for Rio 2016 via WSB, and Rabii is in prime position to be one of those fighters due to his 4-0 undefeated record in Season V.

Rabii is just a single point behind the number one ranked Radzhab Butaev, and four points ahead of Ireland’s Steven Donnelly and Azerbaijan’s Parviz Baghirov which means a win here would put immense strain on every opponent in his weight class.

The Moroccan fighter has impressed in this campaign due to his calmness under pressure, and his ability to treat every bout as a separate entity, but will the pressure of his penultimate fight cause him to wilt in London?

2-2 Lionheart Haizel Ekow Tabiri-Essuman is his challenger at York Hall, and the British star knows he will need to win his last two fights to have any chance of finishing in the top two this season.

4-0 British Super heavyweight (91+ kg) Joseph Joyce is one of the most powerful boxers in WSB, and currently sits second in the rankings of his weight class.

Three of Joyce’s wins this season have come via stoppage, but perhaps his most impressive victory came away against Cuba’s Lenier Eunice Pero in Havana, which destroyed the undefeated run of his opponent.

Only the top ranked Super heavyweight will qualify for Rio 2016, so Joyce needs another impressive performance against 1-1 Moroccan Abouhamada Abdeljalil to put pressure on Filip Hrgovic who currently leads the rankings, while Azerbaijan’s Arslanbek Makhmudov also has the same amount of points as Joyce.

Both Hrgovic and Makhmudov compete in Group B of WSB, so Joyce will not face either of them in the Regular Season, which means that he will need to make an early impact in his fight with Abdeljalil to put early pressure on his rivals who compete later this weekend.

Elsewhere, Morocco’s number five ranked Flyweight (52 kg) Achraf Kharroubi needs a win to keep his hopes of Olympic qualification through WSB alive against Spain’s José Kelvin de la Nieve Linares who has yet to win in his two matches this season for the Lionhearts.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Luke McCormack makes his WSB debut as he faces 1-2 Atlas Lion Abdellah Boudrar at Lightweight (60 kg), while Joshua Buatsi opens his WSB account for Britain at Light heavyweight (81 kg) against Holland’s 0-2 Light heavyweight (81 kg) Peter Mullenberg.