World Series of Boxing Unveils New British Franchise

November 6, 2012

A British team is to join the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) World Series of Boxing (WSB) for the first time.

The new team, ampoule the British Lionhearts, health was launched in London today (Tuesday, 6 November).

The franchise is being run in the UK by a dedicated team led by Matt Archibald, the franchise General Manager.

The British Lionhearts team is drawn from boxers that are part of the GB Boxing Olympic Programme along with a number of international selections (in accordance with WSB regulations).

It will be prepared and led by Rob McCracken who has been appointed the Performance Director of the British Lionhearts, in addition to his responsibilities as Performance Director of GB Boxing.

The team will train and prepare at GB Boxing’s purpose-built training facility based at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield (EISS).

WSB is a unique global boxing league formed of franchise teams from around the world that compete in five weight categories at home and away matches. A pro-style competition, it allows boxers to retain their amateur status and, crucially, their Olympic eligibility. One of the main aims of WSB is to help make boxing a more established sport for young athletes and to position boxing as one of the world’s leading aspirational sports.

The confirmed British Lionhearts team includes four boxers which competed at the London 2012 Olympics.  These include Fred Evans who won a silver medal for Great Britain and John Joe Nevin who secured silver for Ireland and is one of the international selections in the Lionhearts team.

Matt Archibald, General Manager of the British Lionhearts, said: “The development and launch of the British Franchise is all about supporting some of our country’s most talented boxers. The Lionhearts set up will complement existing boxing clubs and academies and see representation in all Home Nations by 2015, building on the legacy of GB Boxing Team at London 2012 throughout England, Scotland and Wales. We are supporting British boxing and British boxers to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, all the way to Rio 2016 and beyond. Our aim is to grow the sport of boxing in the UK, building a wider audience through TV after our table-topping Olympic games, and to support a legitimate new pathway for boxer development.”

“We are extremely happy that such a legendary boxing country has joined World Series of Boxing. This latest addition gives a huge boost to the League and demonstrates once more its worldwide appeal. A few months after having confirmed franchises in Argentina, Poland and Ukraine – other major boxing markets – we are proud that the very best boxers are competing in WSB this season.” stated Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, AIBA President and Chairman of the WSB Board.

Rob McCracken added: “This is good news for the boxers and good news for the Olympic programme.  It creates new career opportunities for the boxers that enable them to be rewarded for their achievements yet remain eligible to compete in the Olympics.  As we look to build for the next cycle this ought to help us retain more of our best boxers and build a strong squad for 2016.”