A hugely entertaining World Series of Boxing (WSB) evening at London’s legendary York Hall was won by visitors Morocco Atlas Lions who defeated British Lionhearts 3-2.
Each match was filled with excellent boxing and drama, and exemplified the world class action that has been showcased all throughout Season V of WSB.
This spirit was typified in the last fight of the evening at Super heavyweight (91+ kg) when second ranked Lionheart Joseph Joyce took his season record to 5-0 after defeating a very tough Abouhamada Abdeljalil on points.
Joyce showed excellent conditioning in the bout, and displayed his frightening power regularly, while Abdeljalil’s resilience and heart was clear to see across all five rounds.
The win for Joyce keeps his chances of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games very much alive, and puts huge pressure on top ranked Filip Hrgovic who competes later this weekend.
Another prospective Olympian is Moroccan Welterweight (69 kg) Mohammed Rabii who defeated Britain’s Haizel Ekow Tabiri-Essuman on points to keep his undefeated streak going.
Worryingly for the 5-0 Rabii however was the deep cut he suffered early on in the contest which caused the fight to be ended after the third round.
Rabii is ranked number two at Welterweight, but the division is one of the deepest in WSB and he will need to recover quickly to fight again in two weeks time.
The Atlas Lions won the first match of the evening at Flyweight (52 kg) when Achraf Kharroubi defeated Spain’s José Kelvin de la Nieve Linares by split decision in an entertaining contest.
19-year-old Lionheart Luke McCormack then enjoyed an impressive debut at Lightweight (60 kg) with a dominant performance over Abdellah Boudrar.
After Rabii’s success, a win for Dutch Light heavyweight (81 kg) Peter Mullenberg secured the overall victory for Morocco, although he was pushed all the way by the very impressive British debutant Joshua Buatsi.
The new Lionheart was the more powerful boxer, and clearly stunned Mullenberg on occasion, but though Buatsi clearly proved his undoubted potential, the Dutch fighter was busier throughout the contest and won the fight, and the evening for his African Franchise.
British Lionhearts travel away to Algeria Desert Hawks next week, while Morocco Atlas Lions host Ukraine Otamans.