Jack W McCarron
The World Series of Boxing (WSB) moves into its third week this Friday night.
The competition which is in its fourth season is a professional boxing competition which allows the boxers maintain their Olympic status and is organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
The competition sees franchises from various countries draft boxers, much like the model used by most American sports.
Like each of the other 3 seasons, Ireland is well represented at this level, with Olympic medalists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan lining out for the Italia Thunder, Ballymena middleweight Steven Donnelly is with Rafako Hussars Poland and Tipperary Super Heavyweight Dean Gardiner is representing the Mexico Guerreros.
So far results have been mixed for the Irish contingent. Week one saw Barnes pick up Italia Thunders only win of the night as he beat Magomed Ibiyev of the Azerbaijan Baku Fires on a unanimous decision.
Conlan also representing the Italians lost a unanimous decision against Magomed Gurbanov as the Thunder succumbed to a 4-1 defeat in the Azerbaijani capital.
Week 2 saw Steven Donnelly step into the ring for the first time in Lubin, Poland and he saw off Madiyar Ashkeyev of the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan on a unanimous decision but it was not enough to prevent is team going down to a 2-3 defeat.
Italia Thunder also lost 3-2 in week 2 however neither Barnes nor Conlan were in action.
The involvement of all these boxers in the WSB is the reason for their absence from the recent National Elite Finals that took place in the National stadium over the past few weekends.
LOOKING AHEAD TO IRISH FIGHTERS INVOLVEMENT THIS WEEKEND
As we look ahead to week 3, all 3 teams which have Irish boxers involved are due to compete Saturday night so we can look forward to hopefully seeing the Irish in action.
Fellow Irish Boxers David Oliver Joyce and Joe Ward were themselves recently involved in another Professional competition which allowed them to retain their Olympic Status.
Joyce from St Michaels Athy and Ward from Moate Co Westmeath are competing in AIBA Professional Boxing (APB).
The APB is a new pro boxing competition which also acts as a qualifier for the Rio Olympics.
Each weight class has 2 qualifying spots on offer, and the tournament is run on a ranking system which is to run until the end of January and the tournament will officially launch in March of this year.
To date Joyce and Ward both have a record of 2-1 in the competition.
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