It was a busy weekend for the Copper Box Arena and our local sports team as all were in action this weekend.
The Copper Box Arena played host to its first behind closed doors boxing event, in conjunction with Queensbury Promotions and BT Sport. The event saw the venue changed into a fully enclosed Covid secure arena. The headline bout saw the challenger Ijaz Ahmed defeat Quasie Khademi by majority decision to become the WBO and vacant IBF European Super-flyweight Champion.
The fight card also saw boxer turned Love Island contestant Tommy Fury notch his 5 win in the ring with a dominant display stopping Scott Williams in the 2nd round. The boxing will return at the end of March for a double bill of boxing with the 26th & 27th scheduled to have a back to back weekend of bouts.
This meant the two home teams London Lions and London Pulse were playing their league fixtures away from home, with London Lions playing away at Sheffield Sharks in the British Basketball League and London Pulse had their third game of the new Vitality Netball Super League season being held at Wakefield.
The London Lion’s DeAndre Liggins' 25-point, ten rebound double-double wasn't enough as the Lions slipped to an 83-72 defeat at B Braun Sheffield Sharks.
Liggins had 14 points at half-time and drained four three-pointers, adding four assists but a strong fourth period from the hosts proved to be the difference. Justin Robinson added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists while Fahro Alihodzic chipped in with ten points and eight boards. Jeremy Hemsley led Sharks with 22 points
The Lions started well to lead 13-7 after four minutes before Sharks hit back to lead by four, but it was Robinson who had the final say in the quarter as his three tied the score at 22.
It was still level at 27 as Jules Dang-Akodo scored with three minutes gone but Sharks took control after that and a strong finish to the half saw Sheffield into the locker room with a 44-36 lead.
A 7-2 start, to the third quarter, helped the Lions fight their way back into the game early as Alihodzic opened with a pair of baskets before Sharks hit back with a 6-0 run. Back-to-back Robinson treys in a personal ten-point run dragged the Lions back into the game but the Sharks again finished strongly to lead 62-57 at the final break.
That was as close as the Lions came as the hosts scored the first six points of the fourth period, and although Liggins made it a seven-point game, Sharks answered with an 8-0 run as Lewis' triple made it a 15-point game with 3:20 on the clock to effectively wrap things up. The Lions next home games at the Copper Box Arena is 5th March versus Bristol Flyer live on Sky Sports tip off 7.30pm.
Across in Wakefield London Pulse were up against the in form Strathclyde Sirens and it was the Sirens who continued to be the surprise package of the season as they added another victory to their tally, making it three wins from four with victory over a London Pulse team who have yet to register a win from their three matches.
The Scottish outfit's 35-30 result against Pulse was secured through a strong team performance.
After holding a 20-16 lead at the interval, and a 29-20 advantage at three-quarter time, Sirens then weathered a period of Pulse pressure well after Sam Bird had used the latter stages of the third quarter to amend their picture in attack.
The introduction of Olivia Tchine, Lefebre Rademan and Ash Dekker worked well but Sirens remained composed in defence, with Towera Vinkhumbo impressing once again.
The Sirens worked well to limit the impact that Halimat Adio and Funmi Fadoju had. The sharpness of the sirens passing combined with the knowledge of when to let the ball go, and once they did, the Sirens were excellent in shooting as well.
In a low-scoring encounter, that proved decisive as Sirens closed out a win to match their three wins in total and leaving London Pulse searching for the first win of the season.