Jack Bateson helped inspire the British Lionhearts to a much needed 4-1 win over Algeria Desert Eagles in the World Series of Boxing at York Hall on Thursday.
The Sky Academy Sports Scholar was making his WSB debut and put in an accomplished display against Abdelhakaim El Barka to win by unanimous decision in the night’s opening bout.
It was an intriguing fight and although Bateson was awarded every round on the judges’ scorecards, El Barka made life difficult for the Yorkshire native early on. However, as the fight progressed Bateson showed his class, picking off his opponent time and again due to his vastly superior speed.
Considering it was Bateson’s first five-round fight he coped well and actually grew into the fight. Having become entangled in a few skirmishes at close quarters in the opening couple of rounds, the 20-year-old fighter – backed by a vociferous section of the crowd – showed the maturity to steer clear of trouble, staying at range to deliver a number of telling blows in the latter rounds.
After a tricky year for Bateson, it was a much-needed victory and one that he revelled in when the result was announced and his arm was raised.
“I only found out I was boxing in this last week and five three-minute rounds – I was a bit nervous,” he said afterwards.
“The last two nights I didn’t get much sleep but I was really looking forward to it, it’s a massive year for me, it’s my time to shine now. I just hope that I can push through now and go on to 2016 as No 1 in Great Britain. I’ve got a lot of work to do yet, though.”
I’m just looking at it as an individual fight and I go out to win and if I can pick up win after win after win and gain Olympic qualification then that would be brilliant.
The victory gave the Lionhearts a 2-0 lead on the night after John Newell was given a walkover after his light-heavyweight opponent, Nabil Kassel, was unable to make the trip to London.
The Algerians hit back in the lightweight contest as Reda Benbaziz produced a dominant display to beat the Lionhearts Bulgarian fight Detelin Dalakliev, again by unanimous decision.
In the welterweight contest Ekow Tabiri-Essuman recovered from losing the first round to secure the win for the British team with a bout to spare, the judges again unanimous in their decision.
Commonwealth Games champion Joe Joyce ensured the night ended with a bang as he stopped Mohamed Grimes in the third. The super-heavyweight was well in control and when Grimes, well aware he would be second best if the fight went the distance, came out swinging, Joyce responded with a barrage of his own to send the Algerian to the canvas.
Grimes got up but when Joyce went to work on him again his corner decided enough was enough and threw in the towel.
The 4-1 final score left the British Lionhearts with two wins and two defeats thus far with a trip to Russia up next. The Desert Eagles remain winless and face the unbeaten Ukraine Otomans in their next encounter.