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Maxwell's house in order for the Series; Lightweight to make his World debut tonight.

Byline: PHIL KIRKBRIDE Boxing Reporter

SAM MAXWELL insists he must move with the changing world of amateur boxing - even though the risks are greater.

The 24-year-old makes his debut in World Series of Boxing in London this evening, a new hybrid venture where fighters retain their Olympic eligibility but compete under professional-style rules.

Maxwell will be part of the British Lionhearts squad taking on the German Eagles at Earl's Court in the capital.

Lionhearts have boxed in three previous fixtures, winning against teams from the US and Italy but suffering a defeat to the Kazakhstan franchise last week.

Salisbury ABC's Maxwell hopes to help the Lionhearts get back on track with a win in his lightweight (61kg) bout against David Joyce, an Ireland international signed up by the German team.

The bout takes place over five, three minute rounds instead of the nine minutes of amateur action at senior level, and boxers wear no headguards or vests.

WSB boxers also receive money for competing in the tournament, on top of their national funding.

AIBA, the world governing body of amateur boxing, passed a motion earlier this year which confir med their intention to remove headguards from all elite level competition in 2013.

Maxwell says the chance to experience life without that protection, ahead of the AIBA bringing the move into force, was too good to turn down even though it comes below his preferred weight of 64kg.

"It wasn't an easy decision to accept a place on WSB because of the weight but I wanted the experience and to be part of this," he said.

"There could be no headguards in amateur boxing soon so I wanted the experience before it happens.

"I've not done any sparring without a headguard so it will be completely new for me.

"But a lot of the lads who have already boxed in WSB have given me some feedback and say that you feel better without the headguard and that they have felt sharper.

"I tend to do a lot of messing with my headguard when I'm in the ring so won't have that tonight.

"My style is to keep things long, a good amateur style, but in WSB I will have to settle down on my shots more and put more power into them.

"But I do have to be more careful, especially on the inside because there are more dangers in this format and you'll get less protection from the referees."

He added: "The training has changed and it has been good to experience some of what the professionals go through.

"We have done a lot more rounds of sparring and when I first started doing it, it was incredibly hard."

As well as sparring team-mates on the Great Britain squad, Maxwell has been able to pick up vital information about fighting in a pro-style from David Burke.

"I have learnt a lot from him," said Maxwell.

"And I'll not box anyone as strong as him.

"David Joyce looks strong and it will be a very hard fight for me. I've seen him box a few times.

"I've had to come down to 61kg for the competition but I feel like I have made the weight well and I feel strong." ? Ticket prices for the show begin at PS20 and are available at www.britishlionhearts.com/tickets The fixture will be televised on ESPN at 11pm on Sky SD/HD 417, Virgin 529, Virgin HD 530, BT Vision / Top Up TV / Freeview Channel 34.

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BRAVE NEW WORLD: Sam Maxwell competes in the World Series of Boxing tonight
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 14, 2012
Words:597
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