British Lionhearts coach Dave Alloway insisted he was a satisfied man as his boxers took their first step on the road to Rio qualification with a 3-2 victory over the China Dragons in the first fixture of the new World Series of Boxing season.
Wins from GB Boxing Podium squad members Qais Ashfaq, Sam Maxwell and Anthony Fowler secured the Lionhearts victory.
Ashley Williams lost out on a unanimous decision, as did the Lionhearts’ international selection for the fixture, Ionut-Mirel Jitaru of Romania.
The fixture marked the Lionhearts’ return to the WSB following their absence last season.
They are drawn in Group A, alongside the likes of Russia, reigning champions Cuba and Ukraine who they face next week.
And with 17 Olympic qualification places available to the best boxers across the weight categories after the final in June, Alloway was delighted with a winning start.
“It is a new experience for a lot of the boys with five rounds but that is what we are here for, the experience is what it is all about,” said Alloway.
“Overall, 3-2 is a good start, it is quite pleasing.
“It is a tough group we’re in but we are going to take each match as it comes. We know a lot of these boxers in the tournament and their teams want the same thing as us, they want to get boxers participating in the Olympic Games.
“It is not as if they are boxing ex professionals, they are boxing fighters that are new to this format as well.”
In the first bout of the night, light-flyweight Williams was unable to neutralise the speed and movement of China’s He Junjun, losing a unanimous decision that put the visitors one up.
2014 Commonwealth bantamweight silver medallist Ashfaq pulled the Lionhearts level with a split decision victory over Diao Jianhao.
Light-welterweight Maxwell, who won bronze at the Commonwealth Games, put on the performance of the night with a dominant points decision over Sairike Tuoliaowutayi.
Commonwealth gold medallist and World Championship bronze medallist Fowler had to settle for a unanimous decision victory over Zhou Di after three rounds of a scheduled five due to him receiving a cut from a clash of heads.
His win confirmed the Lionhearts' victory before their international selection, Jitaru, was outpointed by Croatia’s Josip Bepo Filipi, who was representing China.
© Sportsbeat 2015