World Series of Boxing: Joe Joyce wins to keep alive Olympic hopes

Joe Joyce
Joe Joyce won super heavyweight gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014

Londoner Joe Joyce stayed on target for Olympic qualification with another victory in the World Series of Boxing (WSB), but the British Lionhearts lost 4-1 to the China Dragons in Sanya.

The 29-year-old's fourth win of the series, over Vladan Babic, put him top of WSB's super-heavyweight rankings.

The British boxers are using the series individually to qualify for Rio 2016.

Only the top-ranked super-heavyweight at the end of the season will automatically qualify.

However, most boxers will still qualify through more traditional routes, including world and continental championships.

Joyce's two main rivals, Croatia's Filip Hrgovic, who represents Kazakhstan, and Arslanbek Makhmudov, who represents Azerbaijan, box on Saturday.

Joyce's first-round stoppage of Babic was the high point of an otherwise frustrating evening for the visitors, with the Lionhearts on the wrong end of three split decisions.

At welterweight, another strong performance by Nottingham's Ekow Essuman went unrewarded as he lost to Wei Liu.

At light-heavyweight, John Newell lost out despite a fine performance against Yibulayin Abudureyimu, with one judge scoring all five rounds for the Oldham boxer.

Defeats for the Lionhearts' two overseas boxers, flyweight Jose Kelvin De La Nieve and lightweight Oualid Belaoura, ensured the China Dragons avenged the defeat inflicted upon them in London in January.

Next-up for the Lionhearts are two home matches against the Ukraine Otamans on 12 March and the Morocco Atlas Lions a week later.