Joe Joyce’s hopes of early qualification for Rio 2016 are in jeopardy after he lost during the British Lionhearts’ defeat to Russia in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) last night.
The super-heavyweight, ranked second in the WSB, dropped a split decision to Babanin Maksim, his first defeat from six fights this season.
International selection Kelvin De La Nieve picked up the only Lionhearts victory on the night, with Oualid Belaoura, Scott Fitzgerald and Joshua Buatsi all losing on points.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Joyce was just one point behind Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic in the rankings before last night.
With only the top-ranked super-heavyweight gaining automatic Olympic qualification, the Earlsfield fighter feels his loss will scupper any chance he had of claiming that space.
“I couldn’t get through this door so I’ll have to go onto the next door,” the 29-year-old said.
“I’ll go to the European Championships and then move onto qualifying for the World Championships and see if I can get the qualification there.
“Hrgovic is already a point in front of me and unless he completely loses his next two fights, which I think is unlikely, I’m out of the running.
“I’m just disappointed with myself not to get the win and to now make it a raffle to qualify for the Olympics.”
Hrgovic is set to fight two more times this season and as Joyce is in a different group and therefore unable to face him, his early qualification chances are now out of his hands.
At first glance Joyce’s fight looked like a mismatch – his chiselled physique towering over the chubby Maksim.
However the Russian brought a wealth of experience to the ring, having previously beaten David Price and Tyson Fury when they were amateurs.
Despite his advantages in height and reach Joyce was unable to box at range with Maksim consistently bouncing overhand shots off the Brit’s head.
“He was a good, tricky opponent, obviously very experienced. I’d seen videos of him beforehand so I knew he was a tricky opponent,” Joyce said.
“He throws a lot of shots over the top, he’s a very good boxer.
“It’s just disappointing, I thought I had a good chance of beating him but it was very close – he was very clever.”
Joyce’s last bout of the season will come on April 24 when the Lionhearts travel to Mexico to face the Guerreros team they narrowly lost to in February.
Image courtesy of WorldSeriesBoxing via YouTube, with thanks