By Tom Degun

Joe JoyceFebruary 7 - The British Lionhearts secured a spot in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) knockout stages as they handed Group B leaders Astana Arlans Kazakhstan their first defeat of the season with a spectacular 4-1 win at York Hall in London.

It was the visitors who actually took an early lead as the light heavyweight showdown saw the Lionhearts' Swedish fighter Babacar Kamara loose a unanimous points decision to Kazakhstan's Croatian fighter Hrvoje Sep.

But the home side responded superbly as Samuel Maxwell beat Yerzhan Mussafirov on points at lightweight before London 2012 silver medallist Fred Evans of Wales put the Lionhearts 2-1 up with a hard fought split decision win over Kazak Miras Bairkhanov at middleweight.

It was then left to Welsh bantamweight star Andrew Selby to secure the victory as he defeated the awkward Kazak debutant Meirbolat Toitov to give the Lionhearts an unassailable 3-1 lead.

But despite the final bout at heavyweight being a dead rubber with the home win already secure, the Lionhearts Joe Joyce (pictured top) produced the performance of the night as he stunned reigning WSB heavyweight champion Filip Hrgovic.

The Englishman used his stiff left jab to dominate the Croatian fighter to claim the biggest wins of his career and maintain the Lionhearts unbeaten home record in in what is their debut season in the WSB.

With qualification to the knockout stages now secure, the Lionhearts next face the German Eagles away at the Kuppelsaal Congress Centrum on February 23 in a bout where they will be under no pressure.

Meanwhile the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, who have also qualified for the knockout stages, are away to Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder that same night.

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