GB fighter beaten by Olympic bronze medal winner in Hackney homecoming

Sam Maxwell of Team England

Sam Maxwell of Team England - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

There was no happy homecoming for Sam Maxwell at the Copper Box Arena as he lost out to Cuba’s Olympic bronze medallist Yasnier Toledo Lopez.

Maxwell, who spent the first nine years of his life in Hackney before his family moved to Liverpool, was boxing in his home borough for the first time in the British Lionhearts match against Cuba.

However, the light-welterweight was unable to match Lopez – who has also won two silver medals at the World Championships – and he was stopped in the closing stages of the final round.

“Sam won’t come up against many boxers as good as him,” admitted Robert McCracken, the GB team director of boxing.

“This was a good learning fight and Sam can still qualify through the European and World Championships – all is not lost.”

Maxwell, who is a former England Elite champion, took the fight to his southpaw opponent during the first three rounds, but was also caught several times by counter-punches as he advanced.

The home fighter started to find his range in the fourth, using his left jab before landing with a series of hooks to both head and body and seemed to be gaining momentum.

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But it all went wrong for Maxwell in the fifth round – he was almost floored by a left hook from the Cuban and took an eight count before another left hook left him in trouble again.

Forced against the ropes, Maxwell took a second count and the referee eventually called a halt to the contest with just 21 seconds remaining.