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Maxwell Eager To Show His Nasty Side To Lomachenko

By Mark Staniforth, Press Association Sport

Liverpool lightweight Sam Maxwell is relishing the prospect of a rematch against the man widely recognised as the world's best amateur boxer, Vasyl Lomachenko, in London next week.

Reigning and double Olympic champion Lomachenko, who also boasts two world titles, is part of a powerful Ukraine team who will face the GB Lionhearts on March 1 as the World Series of Boxing heads back to the capital.

Maxwell was outpointed by Lomachenko in their previous meeting in Kiev in January, but believes he showed his illustrious opponent too much respect on that first occasion, and is capable of setting the record straight.

"When I watched the fight back I saw I had been too tentative, so this time it is about putting more venom in my shots and bringing out my nasty side to show him how confident I am," said Maxwell.

"Everyone looks up to Lomachenko. People see him as the best fighter out there so if I can get close it shows that I deserve to be right up there too. He is good at everything he does and you can learn so much just by watching him.

"This has all been a great experience for me and I am learning all the time. It is exactly what I need going into a year with the Europeans and World Championships coming up."

Maxwell narrowly missed out on a place at the London Olympics when he was beaten in the final qualifying competition in Turkey, and the lightweight place at 2012 went instead to Lionhearts team-mate Josh Taylor.

But for Maxwell, the establishing of a London WSB franchise - with its professional, five-round system and its rapidly increasing financial rewards - has made it much easier to make the decision to stay in the amateur ranks for another Olympic crack.

Maxwell added: "I was disappointed to get so close to London and not make it but I know I can do well on the podium squad and I can give it my full focus for the next four years to Rio.

"There has always been a mass exodus to the professionals after the Olympics but that seems to be changing now because competitions like the WSB are giving boxers so many more opportunities.

"If you do well in WSB you can make some good money to go with your podium funding and it helps make it easier. The bottom line is you all want to win Olympic gold, because there is nothing bigger and you would not trade anything for it."

The GB Lionhearts, who will first send a team to compete in Germany this Friday, have already done enough to guarantee progression to the WSB knockout stages and get closer to the 1million euros winner-takes-all first prize.

But there is no doubting the prestige of the March 1 showdown against the Ukrainians, who will boast a second reigning Olympic champion - the powerful heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk.

Usyk will take on London's hugely promising Joe Joyce, who has gone unbeaten in his four WSB bouts so far and will step in to face Usyk as the current number one heavyweight in the WSB rankings.

Joyce said: "The WSB has been great for me and getting to fight the likes of Usyk is a great opportunity. But I have got to see it as just another bout and of course I am totally confident that it is one I can win."

Mark Staniforth covers boxing for PA Sport.

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