British Lionhearts maintain home undefeated record

06 February 2015 / 11:02

British Lionhearts head coach Rob McCracken praised the format of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) after his team beat the Algeria Desert Hawks 4-1 at York Hall on Thursday night.

Unanimous decision wins for Jack Bateson and Ekow Essuman were added to by another stoppage win for Joe Joyce while John Newell won by default as his opponent could not travel.

The Lionhearts’ only loss on the night came when their international selection, Detelin Dalakliev, was outpointed by his younger and larger opponent.

The victory saw a return to winning ways for the Lionhearts after consecutive defeats to Ukraine and Morocco away from home.

And McCracken admitted his charges were quickly adapting to the system as the race for Rio places hots up.

“This is the way boxing should be, you’ve got to be strong, tough, smart and you’ve got to have the ability and talent,” he said.

“It’s an open scoring system now, much like professional boxing.

“There are certain elements that come into it; strength, speed, ability, whereas with previous scoring systems it was point-pinching, hitting and moving and not really a spectacle.

“There was no problem with morale, when you lose 3-2 away from home there’s nothing in it, it’s not an issue.

“You learn from each bout, from each competition, and the boxers learn on the job as you can see.

“The experience that the younger boxers get, learning with each fight, is evident already and I’m sure it will be helpful for a lot of our boxers.

“We look at it more on individual boxers progressing and developing, that’s our main priority.”

The Lionhearts began the evening with an automatic advantage after Newell’s opponent, Nabil Kassel, was unable to travel.

Flyweight Bateson, a late replacement for the injured Lee Selby, made it 2-0 with his victory over Abdelhakim El Barka in what was the most exciting bout of the night.

Bulgaria’s Dalakliev, a world champion in 2009, was unable to live up to expectations in his lightweight bout as he could not cope with the southpaw stance and size of Reda Benbaziz.

Essuman then sealed the victory for the Lionhearts when he boxed behind a high guard to outpoint Algeria’s Sofiane Tabi.

In the final bout of the evening, super-heavyweight Joyce forced Mohammed Grimes’ corner to throw in the towel early in the third round after a display of economic power punching.

Joyce, a veteran of the competition with 10 wins from 11 bouts in total, is relishing the opportunity to box a variety of opponents while vying for a spot at Rio 2016.

“It’s great for me to box different types of opponents and to learn from the different styles I come up against,” he said.

“I’m of course confident about qualifying but I have to make sure I’m switched on, but I’m sure I will, I’ve got it in me and I’ve learnt from past mistakes.”

© Sportsbeat 2015