John Joe Nevin and Joe Ward join new British Lionhearts WSB Franchise

By
Updated: November 7, 2012
Lionhearts Launch - WSB Season III

Further great news for Irish boxing today as both John Joe Nevin and Joe Ward signed contracts with the new Great Britain franchise taking part in the AIBA World Series Boxing.

The news will be particularly welcomed by the IABA’s High Performance Director, Billy Walsh and indeed by Irish boxing in general as now both Nevin – an  Olympic Silver medallist at London 2012 – and Ward will be able to represent Ireland in future international competitions including  the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.   Only a month ago it had been feared that John Joe Nevin was turning professional as part of Amir Khan’s new set up but today’s announcement means he remains part and parcel of the Irish team for major international competitions.

Today’s news comes soon after the announcement that Katie Taylor will also remain in the AIBA ranks and thus be able to defend her 60kg title in Rio. It is understood  that another six Irish boxers will partake in the WSB series among them Mick Conlan who will represent the United States franchise.

The  British team is to join the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) World Series of Boxing (WSB) for the first time. The exciting new team – the British Lionhearts – was launched in London Tuesday.

The franchise is being run in the UK by a dedicated team led by Matt Archibald, the franchise General Manager.

The British Lionhearts team is drawn from boxers that are part of the GB Boxing Olympic Programme along with a number of international selections (in accordance with WSB regulations).

It will be prepared and led by Rob McCracken who has been appointed the Performance Director of the British Lionhearts, in addition to his responsibilities as Performance Director of GB Boxing.

The team will train and prepare at GB Boxing’s purpose-built training facility based at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield (EISS).

WSB is a unique global boxing league formed of franchise teams from around the world that compete in five weight categories at home and away matches. A pro-style competition, it allows boxers to retain their amateur status and, crucially, their Olympic eligibility. One of the main aims of WSB is to help make boxing a more established sport for young athletes and to position boxing as one of the world’s leading aspirational sports.

The confirmed British Lionhearts team includes four boxers which competed at the London 2012 Olympics.  These include Fred Evans who won a silver medal for Great Britain and John Joe Nevin who secured silver for Ireland and is one of the international selections in the Lionhearts team.  The squad currently includes:

Name

Weight category

                   Country

Charlie Edwards

54kg

ENG

Sean McGoldrick

54kg

WAL

Andrew Selby

54kg

WAL

Gamal Yafai

54kg

ENG

Joe Cordina

61kg

WAL

Sam Maxwell

61kg

ENG

John Joe Nevin

61kg

IRE

Josh Taylor

61kg

SCO

Aston Brown

73kg

SCO

Fred Evans

73kg

WAL

Antony Fowler

73kg

ENG

Adriani Vastine

73kg

FRA

Babacar Kamara

85kg

SWE

Lawrence Osueke

85kg

ENG

Joe Ward

85kg

IRE

Mohammed Arjaoui

91kg+

MAR

Frazer Clarke

91kg+

ENG

Uaine Fa

91kg+

TGA

Joe Joyce

91kg+

ENG

 

Matt Archibald, General Manager of the British Lionhearts, said: “The development and launch of the British Franchise is all about supporting some of our country’s most talented boxers. The Lionhearts set up will complement existing boxing clubs and academies and see representation in all Home Nations by 2015, building on the legacy of GB Boxing Team at London 2012 throughout England, Scotland and Wales. We are supporting British boxing and British boxers to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, all the way to Rio 2016 and beyond. Our aim is to grow the sport of boxing in the UK, building a wider audience through TV after our table-topping Olympic games, and to support a legitimate new pathway for boxer development.”

“We are extremely happy that such a legendary boxing country has joined World Series of Boxing. This latest addition gives a huge boost to the League and demonstrates once more its worldwide appeal. A few months after having confirmed franchises in Argentina, Poland and Ukraine – other major boxing markets – we are proud that the very best boxers are competing in WSB this season.” stated Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, AIBA President and Chairman of the WSB Board.

Rob McCracken added: “This is good news for the boxers and good news for the Olympic programme.  It creates new career opportunities for the boxers that enable them to be rewarded for their achievements yet remain eligible to compete in the Olympics.  As we look to build for the next cycle this ought to help us retain more of our best boxers and build a strong squad for 2016.”

The Lionhearts’ first home match is against a strong Italia Thunder team at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, on 23rd November. Fortickets, call: 08454674428 or visit: www.celtic-manor.com/blb. The team will then take on the German Eagles at London’s Earls Court on 14th December.

So once Nevin and Ward have joined up with the rest of the squad plenty of opportunities for Irish boxing followers to see their heroes in action in the UK fixtures or indeed overseas.

 

SportsNewsIreland has in fact extensively covered the WSB since the series started but for the benefit of  new readers here are a few facts and figures you may wish to know before the season starts:

WHAT IS WORLD SERIES OF BOXING?

  • ·         Established in 2010, World Series Boxing (‘WSB’) is the only national team boxing competition that is made up of teams from across the World
  • ·         2012/13 is the third season
  • ·         The WSB aims to create alternative career paths for boxers which enable them to retain their eligibility to compete in the Olympics; it also aims to promote and create interest in boxing by creating new and exciting formats of the sport
  • ·         It is governed by the International Boxing Association (‘AIBA’)
  • ·         The main aims of WSB are to help make boxing a more legitimate sport for young athletes and to position boxing as one of the world’s leading aspirational sports
  • ·         WSB offers the perfect bridge between Olympic/Amateur boxing and Pro boxing. especially with AIBA launching its own pro boxing programme in Autumn 2013, AIBA Professional Boxing (APB)
  • ·         Each franchise has a minimum of 15 boxers; each team contains a core of boxers from that country along with a small number of international selections from other countries
  • ·         Boxers compete in five weight categories:

o    Bantamweight (54kg)

o    Lightweight (61kg)

o    Middleweight (73kg)

o    Light-heavyweight (85kg)

o    Heavyweight (91kg+)

  • ·         The franchises are split into 2 groups made up from the following teams:

 

 

Group A                                 Group B

Dynamo Moscow                     Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder

India Fighters                          German Eagles

Azerbaijan Baku Fires              Ukraine Otamans

Argentina Condors                   Astana Arlans Kazakhstan

Mexico Guerreros                             USA Knockouts

Hussars Poland                       British Lionhearts

  • ·         The top four teams from each group qualify for the quarter-finals (home and away fixtures); the winners progress to the semi-finals (home and away fixtures) and then on to the finals which will be held over two nights at a neutral venue in May 2013

WHAT IS THE WSB FORMAT?

  • ·         WSB is for AIBA affiliated boxers as well as current pro boxers with records of less than 15 bouts – a key attraction is that boxers retain Amateur eligibility and thus can compete in the Olympics, The AIBA World Championships and also the Commonwealth Games(latter insofar as any boxers from England,Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) are concerned.
  • ·         50 WSB boxers competed in the London 2012 Games winning 7 medals between tthem
  • ·         Competitors box without vests and head guards
  • ·         The WSB scoring system is based on the ‘ten point must system’.  Each bout is decided by the scores of three judges or, in some cases, by a knockout, technical knockout, disqualification or walk over
  • ·         A WSB match between two international franchises consists of bouts in five weight categories: Bantamweight (54kg), Lightweight (61kg), Middleweight (73kg), Light Heavyweight (85kg) and Heavyweight (91kg+)
  • ·         There are five three-minute rounds in each bout and the team that wins the highest  number of bouts wins the meet
  • ·         Gloves are 8 and 10oz (8oz Bantamweight and Lightweight: 10oz Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight)
  • ·         Professional bandages are used (crepe and gauze)

WHO ARE THE BRITISH LIONHEARTS?

  • The British Lionhearts are a new team competing in the WSB for the first time this year
  • The franchise is run in the UK by a dedicated team led by Matt Archibald, the franchise General Manager
  • The Performance Director of the British Lionhearts is Rob McCracken who runs the GB Boxing Olympic programme
  • The Lionhearts team is madeup of members of the GB Boxing squad and a number of international selections
  • www.britishlionhearts.com

 

WHO IS THEIR SUPPORT TEAM?

  • ·         The British Lionhearts boxing team will be selected and led by Performance Director, Rob McCracken, the man responsible for preparing the Great Britain boxers and the success they achieved at the London 2012 Olympics
  • ·         Rob will be supported by his team of coaches and the sport science professionals that work with him and the GB Boxing squad as part of the UK Sport funded World Class Performance Programme
  • ·         The team will train and prepare at GB Boxing’s purpose-built training facility based at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield (EISS)

 

 

TEAM FOR FIRST MATCH AGAINST USA KNOCKOUTS ON 15TH NOVEMBER

  • ·         54kg Sean McGoldrick
  • ·         61kg Joe Cordina
  • ·         73Kg Antony Fowler
  • ·         85kg Babacar Kamara (Sweden)
  • ·         91+kg Joseph Joyce

 

 

 

 

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