By Andrew Warshaw at the Grange St Paul's Hotel in London

Joe Joyce Antony Fowler Fred Evans Josh Taylor Andrew Selby  and Sean McGoldrick at the Launch of the British Lionhearts2November 6 - With little fanfare but considerable commitment, a long-awaited British franchise was added to the increasingly influential World Series of Boxing (WSB) today, providing an outlet for amateur boxers to earn a living without having to turn fully professional.

The 17-strong British Lionhearts, including three boxers who competed at the London 2012 Olympics but neither of the two gold medallists, Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell, became the WSB's 12th franchise and will allow those involved to be financially rewarded for their achievements yet retain their Olympic eligibility.

Established in 2010, WSB is made up of teams from across the world and is governed by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) designed to jazz up the sport and bridge the gap between amateur and professional boxing.

Each franchise has a minimum of 15 boxers competing in five weight divisions, split into two groups of six, with the top four from each group qualifying for the quarterfinals.

"This is an exciting new chapter in British boxing," said former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan, one of the most recognised and respected television analysts who is a strong supporter of creating an alternative career path for boxers.

The British Lionhearts will make their WSB debut away to the USA knockouts on November 15 and their first home appearance a week later against Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder at Celtic Manor in Wales.

Although WSB may not yet have the clout of high profile, hype-filled, single-bout championship boxing, Matt Archibald, British Lionhearts' general manager, who was the boxing competitions manager at London 2012, believes that will change, especially once a television deal is put in place for the home-and-away tournament.

Antony Fowler Sean McGoldrick Josh Taylor Fred Evans Joe Joyce and Andrew Selby at the Launch of the British LionheartsAntony Fowler, Sean McGoldrick, Josh Taylor, Fred Evans, Joe Joyce and Andrew Selby at the launch of the British Lionhearts

"There are advanced negotiations with television companies and we should be able to make an announcement next week," Archibald told a launch press conference here.

"This is all about supporting some of country's most talented boxers.

"Our aim is to grow the sport, building a wider audience through television after our table-topping Olympic Games and support a legitimate new pathway for boxer development."

Although critics argue that WSB is too much of unknown quantity, it does offer fighters the chance to gain a first taste of professional boxing – no headguards are used, for instance – while remaining under the AIBA's umbrella.

It also offers $1 million (£625,000/€780,000) in prize money to the eventual winners.

Rob McCracken, the man responsible for preparing Team GB's boxers at London 2012 who will be Lionhearts' performance director, commented: "This is good news for boxing and good news for the Olympic programme."

Conspicuous by their absence from the British Lionhearts are Olympic super-heavyweight champion Joshua and bantamweight gold medallist Campbell and Anthony Ogogo, who won middleweight bronze.

They are all still considering their options following their success at London 2012, including the possibility of turning professional.

But London 2012 middleweight silver medallist Fred Evans is among the squad, along with Andrew Selby, who will compete in the bantamweight division with Charlie Edwards and Gamal Yafai.

Heavyweight Frank Clarke and light-heavyweight Lawrence Osueke have also been signed up alongside lightweight trio Joe Cordina, Josh Taylor and Sam Maxwell and Antony Fowler in the welterweight division.

Heavyweight Frank Clarke and light-heavyweight Lawrence Osueke have also been signed up alongside lightweight trio Joe Cordina, Josh Taylor and Sam Maxwell and Antony Fowler in the welterweight division.

They will be joined by Ireland's John Joe Nevin, who won silver medal at London 2012 - losing to Campbell in the final - who is one of the team's international picks. 

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