Analyzing the British Lionhearts WSB Team
It is a strong team and they are probably favorites to win their group featuring Morocco, Italy and France…
The British World Series of Boxing (WSB) team was announced prior to the beginning of the competition. The team will be hoping to compete with the leading teams such as the Cubans. It is a mix of veterans and new faces to the British teams who will be hoping to bring success!
Light-flyweight (-49kg) — It is a strong line up from Britain. Yafai was the Olympian and lost a split decision to Johanys Argilagos in the second round after he lost to him in the WSB as well. He won two fights in the WSB and impressed in other international tournaments. Harvey Horn also has experience in the WSB over the last two seasons. He impressively beat Olympic medalist Nico Hernandez but did lose to Joselito Vazquez. The newcomer of the team is Kiaran MacDonald. The Sunderland ABC boxer overcame Sunny Edwards in the Elite Championships. He is accurate with his southpaw punches and has good power.
Flyweight (-52kg) — Another weight where Britain look quite strong. Muhammad Ali was disappointing in the Olympics but he is a natural talent. His WSB record is 2-1 and his only loss was to Yosbany Veitia who has an incredible WSB record. Ali came on late in that bout and a stronger early start would have got the win. He defeated Nandor Csoka at the Olympic European Qualification Tournament and that must have impressed the Brits as he has been picked. The three young boxers at the weight are Will Cawley, the elite champion. He is accurate and elusive. Niall Farrell and Blane Hyland are also available for selection.
Bantamweight (-56kg) — Peter McGrail will be the British star at the weight. Robeisy Ramirez stated last year that he thought McGrail was the best bantamweight in the British team. He was stopped in that bout but with a year of growth he should be better suited to the WSB. Chris Bourke is a power puncher from London and he could be dangerous if given the chance. A man with a big role could be Jack Bateson. The Leeds man has moved up from flyweight and has WSB experience going 1-1. Babyface Bateson has incredible speed and has settled into this bigger weight
Lightweight (-60kg) — Another strong weight for the GB team. Callum French is the national champion but yet to make his WSB debut. Another southpaw, French largely likes to counter punch. Luke McCormack is the other option and has a WSB record of 4-1. His only loss came against Cuban star Lazaro Alvarez. His experience and speed can be really damaging in this tournament.
Light-Welterweight (-64kg) — If there is a young star in this team it could well be Dalton Smith. He lost to Danny Wright in the British Elite Championships in a shock and when he made his WSB debut he lost to Yasnier Toledo. Smith was very composed and arguably won the fight despite only being 19. Twice national champion Conor Loftus has moved down in weight from welterweight following a loss in the GB championships. Ayrin Ismetov is a Bulgarian with APB experience which should translate well. Sean McComb, the Irish European Games bronze medalist has also looked good in recent weeks with a win in the Bundesliga.
Welterweight (-69kg) — Pat McCormack was awarded WSB regular season boxer of the year following his 3-0 record with wins over Raul Curiel and Gary Russell. He impressed at the Olympics only losing a split decision to Yasnier Toledo. It will be interesting to see how he copes with the higher weight. Carl Fail was the man who beat Loftus in the recent GB Championships after winning the national title. Cyrus Pattinson is another man who has beat Loftus with dazzling movement and speed. He got the first chance to qualify for the Olympics but did not manage it opening the door for Josh Kelly.
Middleweight (-75kg) — Ben Whittaker is another of the young British boxers who will really try and put his mark on the team. He is elusive and quick. John Docherty was a terrific youth boxer and after winning his own GB Championship recently will be trying to establish the spot as his own. Luka Plantic is a Croatian boxer who himself was a highly successful youth. Zoltan Harcsa was stopped at the Olympics by Cuban Arlen Lopez and in 2012 gave Esquiva Falcao trouble.
Light Heavyweight (-81kg) — Thomas Whittaker Hart was another man who was impressive as a junior. He did lose his two WSB bouts last season and in the final was taken apart by Julio La Cruz. He is a tall fighter but may struggle to be top class. Radoslav Pantaleev boxed for the Lionhearts last season where he won two fights. Bojan Miskovic also has previous WSB experience, beating Hrvoje Sep.
Heavyweight (-91kg) — Cheavon Clarke is one of the form British boxers around following his national and then GB Championship wins. Kody Davies boxed at the Commonwealth Games for Wales. Josip-bepo Filipi also represented the Lionhearts and has strong WSB experience with a record of 4-1 only losing to Evgeny Tishchenko. Gabriel Richards of Sweden has also boxed in the WSB with a 2-3 record.
Super-Heavyweight (+91kg) — Frazer Clarke was an impressive youth boxer and has spent a few years behind Joe Joyce. He went 5-0 in the WSB with three stoppage victories. His first win saw him be named boxer of the week. He lost in Bulgaria at Strandja in the final to Petar Belbarov. That performance looks to have impressed the British team and he is due for big performances here. Dean Gardiner, the Irish super heavyweight, is 0-1 in the WSB.
Overall: It is a strong team and they are probably favorites to win their group featuring Morocco, Italy and France. If some of the inexperienced Brits adapt well to the WSB then they can be a great team. Otherwise the likes of Ali, Yafai, the McCormacks, Clarke and even Dalton Smith should ensure success.