The crowds at Earls Court in London were treated to some sumptuous boxing by the home team as the British Lionhearts reclaimed second spot in Group B with a solid win against the German Eagles. Welsh wonders Andrew Selby and Fred Evans as well as Joe Ward and Joseph Joyce helped inflict a resounding defeat on the visitors.
The Lightweight (57-61kg) showdown between Great Britain’s Sam Maxwell and Germany’s rampaging 25-year-old David Oliver Joyce was first. Maxwell’s tactical gameplan was to use his jab to keep the dangerous Irishman at bay but Joyce, with two WSB seasons under his belt, was moving inside well and hitting his target with those swinging hooks of his. The savvy Irishman continued to apply the pressure but Maxwell was settling in and was giving as good as he got. It was very close but in the end it was Joyce who gave the visitors the early lead after winning by split decision.
European and former Youth World Champion Ward then battled 22-year-old German Satula Abdulai at Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) with the Eagles’ orthodox fighter coming in as a late replacement for the injured Kevin Künzel. It was a riveting contest between two very good fighters. Abdulai was trying to unsettle the accomplished Irishman but Ward stuck to his tactic and picked his shots to perfection in rounds one and two. The Irish southpaw’s hand speed had the slippery Abdulai struggling as Ward took round three and four on his way to a TKO win after the German who retired injured.
The footwork of 2011 AIBA World Championships silver medallist Selby was sensational in his fight versus French pro boxer Redouane Asloum at Bantamweight (50-54kg). 23-year-old Selby’s elusive style had the Frenchman in difficulty early on. The sublime shot-making skills of Selby had his experienced 31-year-old opponent having to box on the counter but it was all one-way traffic. Selby continued to delight as he showcased his full repertoire of shots to completely bamboozle his rival. Keeping his focus throughout, the Lionhearts star did not let up and his accuracy was faultless as he won each round on each of the judges’ scorecards to give his team the lead in the match.
At Middleweight (68-73kg), it was 2012 Olympic silver medallist and European Champion Evans pitted against German newcomer Vjaceslav Kerber. The Welsh southpaw could not find his rhythm early on with Kerber moving well and catching Evans on the counter. A great screw shot in the third had Evans just ahead on the scorecards before raising his game in the fourth with some delightful combinations to finally show the spectators his class. Kerber put on a solid performance on his WSB debut but Evans was clever in the latter stages as he took the victory to give the overall win to his team.
The show was brought to a close with Joyce facing Philip Grüner at Heavyweight (91+kg). The tall British 27-year-old orthodox boxer was hitting hard in the first, throwing some stinging uppercuts and some deft hooks to impose his style on the German Eagles fighter. Joyce was constantly on the front foot in this one. He got caught by a couple of good counters from Grüner but the taller Brit was always in control, using that stiff right hand to dominate proceedings. Joyce looks like a boxer who could make a big impact in this competition after making two wins in as many matches after beating Grüner.
Lionhearts are next away to Ukraine next when they face the Otamans at the ‘Terminal’ with Germany hosting Astana Arlans Kazakhstan at the Kuppelsaal Congress Centrum on Saturday 12 January.