Irish duo facing an Italian storm in Cardiff

LONDON 2012 silver medallist John Joe Nevin and current European champion Joe Ward will make their World Series of Boxing (WSB) debuts for the British Lionhearts in Wales this Friday night.

The Lionhearts host defending WSB champions Italia Thunder at the Celtic Manor in Cardiff.

Westmeath man Nevin will meet Serbia's Branimir Stankovic and Ward faces Hungary's Imre Szello in the five-bout match.

Nevin beat Stankovic on a split decision when he was boxing for Paris United in the WSB last season, while the Ward and Szello duel is a repeat of the 2011 European Elite semi-final which Ward won (18-8) en route to gold in Ankara, Turkey.

"I'm looking forward to this one, I can't wait to get in the ring. I think we have a really strong side in the World Series and we'll be aiming to win it out in our first season," said Nevin.


Nevin will fight at 61kg in the WSB this season, while Ward will compete at the WSB light-heavyweight limit of 85kg.

Ward will be pitted against experienced campaigner Imre Szello of Hungary at Light Heavyweight (80-85kg). Two tactically proficient boxers going head-to-head will ensure real fireworks for the fans.

The five-man British Lionhearts team for the visit of Italia Thunder are ranked in the top 10 in the world in their respective weight categories by AIBA (Amateur International Boxing Association).

Willie McLaughlin is signed with Italia Thunder but will not be in action on Friday evening.