McCormack twins triumph but defeat for Kelly
Wearside boxing was today on a high after Great Britain reached the final of the World Series of Boxing for the first time.
The McCormack twins and Josh Kelly were in the GB Lionhearts team who defeated the Kazakhstan national side, the Astana Arlans, 7-3 in London over two nights at the weekend.
Washington brothers Pat and Luke McCormack both triumphed in the semi against the defending champions at the York Hall.
And while Sunderland star Kelly lost out in his match, he emerged from the Bethnal Green showpiece with many plaudits.
Luke McCormack will hope to be selected for the final against the Cuba Domadores on June 4 in Uzbekistan, though the final Olympic qualifying tournament, scheduled for next month is likely to rule out Pat and Josh.
Pat was the first of the local heroes in to the ring at the East End venue and produced a superb performance.
Unbeaten in this year’s WSB and voted the Boxer of the Regular Season, the light-welterweight faced a tough test against Samat Bashenov.
But the 20-year-old never looked in trouble across the five rounds to clinch a unanimous points win.
Luke McCormack met ASBC Asian Confederation silver medallist Zakir Safiullin and he too triumphed for all the judges in a patient, tactical lightweight bout.
Safiullin was wary of the Birtley ABC boxer’s body shots and defended well in the opening rounds.
But McCormack kept his focus, taking a crucial lead that the Kazakh’s resilient spirit could not break through and earning the home side a healthy 5-2 lead.
The Kazakhstan side were not finished and Aslanbek Shymbergenov pulled a point back against Josh Kelly.
Shymbergenov was imperious in the opening round against the Houghton ABC star, who was making his WSB debut.
Kelly though fought all the way to the final bell before being beaten via a split decision.
It was to prove the final blemish on the home card as GB came through the final two contests for a 7-3 scoreline.