The British Lionhearts have a chance to guarantee a place in the knockout stages of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) when they put their unbeaten home record on the line against Group B leaders Astana Arlans Kazakhstan this Thursday 7 February 2013 (20:00 local time) at the iconic York Hall in London.
Neither John Joe Nevin nor Joe Ward will be in action this week for the Lionhearts since they are busy preparing for this month’s Irish Elite Nationals.
The home team will be looking to Welsh duo of Andrew Selby and Fred Evans as well as promising Heavyweight (+91kg) Joseph Joyce to make the difference on the night, with all three still unbeaten this season. Adding that touch of glamour, FIFA 1998 World Cup top-scorer Davor Suker and his entourage will be in attendance to lend support to the away team’s Croatian pair Hrvoje Sep and Filip Hrgovic.
Getting the show underway will be the Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) showdown between the Lionhearts’ experienced Swede Babacar Kamara and Sep, who remains undefeated this season after two quality displays in weeks two and five. The home team’s 31-year-old orthodox fighter is slowly finding his feet in this competition and will be looking to get his account up and running by putting in a big performance for the Lionhearts. Sep, who will be buoyed by the presence of Suker in the stands, will be gunning for victory number three against the dangerous Kamara.
With a big height advantage, Britain’s Samuel Maxwell goes into his Lightweight (57-61kg) contest as the slight favourite having shown his pedigree in his two previous outings this season. The 24-year-old will be battling season one’s top ranked boxer at this weight Yerzhan Mussafirov, which the team will know well after he inflicted defeat on Josh Taylor in week three. The style of these two boxers will guarantee an explosive show.
All eyes with then turn to the Middleweight (68-73kg) contest as Evans locks horns with 22-year-old orthodox Kazak Miras Bairkhanov. The Welsh southpaw has really impressed in his debut campaign, with two sumptuous wins, and with the backing of the fervent home crowd, the 22-year-old reigning European Champion should have too much about him for his opponent.
Fred Evans told WSB, “I missed the last home fixture through illness so am really looking forward to getting back in the ring and competing. The Kazakh will be a very tough team but we also have a strong side out so it should be a great match”.
It will then be the turn of electric Bantamweight (50-54kg) Selby to take the canvas as the unbeaten 24-year-old AIBA World Championships silver medallist is pitted against Kazak debutant Meirbolat Toitov in the penultimate contest of the night. The accomplished Welshman has taken the competition by storm and will looking to once again delight the fans at York Hall.
Selby, looking for his fourth win this season, added, “I have really settled into the WSB format now so I feel that I am starting to find my best form. The atmosphere at York Hall for my last bout was fantastic so I am looking forward to competing there again and hopefully securing a win.”
The last bout of the evening will see two giants of the ring collide at Heavyweight with Joyce set to go head-to-head with 2012 WSB Champion Hrgovic in one of the most highly anticipated contest of the match. On paper, the two are very evenly matched however it will be intriguing to see which one comes out on top. This is a mouth-watering encounter to really look forward to.
The Lionhearts have their perfect home record to protect and a win would guarantee them qualification to the knockout phase and with such stellar names there to watch, the action will be top-drawer. Tickets are still available at www.britishlionhearts.com or can be purchased on the door.