With the Group Stage of WSB Season VI having drawn to a close with some thrilling encounters seen all around the globe, it was the performance of the British Lionhearts that drew most plaudits, making them the surprise package of next week’s play-offs.
Having used Season V as an opportunity to give some precious experience to a young squad, the move has already born fruit in Season VI, as the team won their first four matches in a row to progress as group winners.
Starting the campaign with a trip to the Miccosukee Sports Dome in Miami, inspired wins for Harvey Horn, Pat McCormack and Lawrence Okolie saw the Brits take the tie 3-2, a result that infused the young side with a confidence that never left them. Travelling to Casablanca for a tough Week 4 match against Morocco Atlas Lions, the first three boxers in the ring were Luke McCormack, Frazer Clarke and Muhammad Ali, and all three won to ensure a second away triumph for the Lionhearts.
Returning to their home in York Hall, London, for the Week 6 visit of Mexico Guerreros, a strong line-up immediately took the tie to their opponents, and after Galal Yafai shocked Guerreros’ star Joselito Velasquez in the opening bout, Qais Ashfaq, Pat McCormack, Anthony Fowler and Lawrence Okolie all won their contests to earn a superb 5-0 whitewash in front of a delighted home crowd.
Week 8 saw the return match against USA Knockouts, with the Lionhearts again determined to put on a consummate show of boxing for their fans in York Hall. Muhammad Ali, European Confederation Champion Joseph Cordina and Joshua Buatsi put the tie beyond the Americans’ reach, before Joe Joyce returned to the side in style with a powerful KO win to seal another memorable night in East London.
With the home tie against Morocco Atlas Lions unable to take place, the final match was a trip to Aguascalientes, and with the play-offs secured, it was the perfect opportunity to give more crucial experience to the squad.
Despite a team defeat in Mexico, Frazer Clarke won his contest by TKO to secure the top ranking among the super heavyweights while Pat McCormack and Lawrence Okolie remain unbeaten, along with the in-form flyweight Muhammad Ali, as the side prepares to take on Ukraine Otamans in the quarter finals on 21 and 22 April.