Boxing: British Lionhearts secure progress in World Series of Boxing by beating France Fighting Roosters
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British team through to next round after success at York Hall
British Lionhearts secured a 3-2 victory over France Fighting Roosters in their top-of-the-table World Series of Boxing (WSB) clash at York Hall.
Wins for the three homegrown boxers in Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail and Conor Loftus secured victory in the match dubbed ‘Le Boxing Crunch’ to guarantee the British team a place in the next phase of the competition.
The Lionhearts will face Morocco Atlas Lions in two weeks in the final fixture of the group stages, but are already guaranteed to finish the regular season top of Group B.
The evening began with another solid performance from Yafai, who sent Martin Molina to the canvas three times en route to a unanimous win at light-flyweight.
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France’s Nizar Trimech evened-up the scores with a narrow split-decision win over one of the Lionheart’s overseas selections, Zoltan Harcsa of Hungary, in an excellent middleweight contest.
Liverpool’s Peter McGrail restored the Lionhearts’ lead with unanimous win over Samuel Kistohurry in the bantamweight contest to make it three wins from three for the season.
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McGrail said: “It was not my best performance but the win is the win. Maybe I am a bit of perfectionist, but there were times when I did not feel I boxed my best, but I know I did enough to win.
“Coming just a couple of weeks after I competed at the Under-22 European Championships, I did feel a little low on energy, but I am happy with the win and keeping my unbeaten run going in this season of WSB.”
It fell to Leeds’ Conor Loftus to ensure the British team won the match as he overcame France’s Amzile Hassan in a bruising light-welterweight contest to give the Lionhearts a 3-1 lead on the night and ensure the Lionhearts will win Group B of the WSB.
Loftus said: “The team is full of confidence. We lost our first match of the season in Italy but since then we have kept a pretty consistent line-up and really grown into the competition. Our home record is fantastic and we are looking forward to the quarter-finals and going as far as we can this season.”
An all Croatian super-heavyweight contest saw Alen Babic secure a unanimous victory for the Roosters over his compatriot Joesp-Bepo Filipi to ensure the match finished 3-2.
The Lionhearts’ final match of the group stages will be in Morocco against the Atlas Lions on 21 April 2017 and will be shown on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD, Virgin 546, Freeview 255, TalkTalk 415).