Copper Box on Olympic Park could become permanent home of British Lionhearts franchise

Monday, 17 December 2012
By Tom Degun

Copper BoxDecember 17 - The Copper Box on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford could become the permanent home of  UK-based World Series of Boxing (WSB) franchise British Lionhearts next year.

The £43 million (€53 million/$70 million) 6,000 capacity Copper Box was completed in 2011 before it hosted handball and the modern pentathlon fencing discipline during the London 2012 Olympics and then goalball during the Paralympics.

The venue is set to reopen next year as a multi-sport arena for community use and Lionhearts general manager Matt Archibald said his franchise is currently in talks with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) about using the venue as their permanent home when WSB Season Four gets underway at the end of 2013.
 
MattArchibaldBritish Lionhearts general manager Matt Archibald is hopeful the Copper Box will become the permanent home of the WSB franchise

"There are plans afoot to go onto the Olympic Park and into the Copper Box next year," Archibald told insidethegames.

"We are in negotiations with the Legacy Company and we think that would be a fantastic base for us.

"We are in Season Three right now and our plan is to build up the franchise as much as we can over the next year.

"Then in WSB Season Four, which starts at the end of next year, hopefully we can be in the Copper Box."

The Lionhearts joined WSB for the start of Season Three last month and have so far won three of their four matches.

They have staged two home bouts with the first coming at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales last month and the second at Earl's Court in London on Friday (December 14), where the Lionhearts team featuring London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans defeated the German Eagles 4-1.
 
Fred Evans WSBLondon 2012 Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans (left) is one of the stars of the British Lionhearts

The locations for the Lionhearts' next home matches have not yet been confirmed although it is likely that Earl's Court will be used again this season.

Archibald, who previously served as the boxing manager at London 2012, said that even though the Lionhearts may still look to stage matches outside the Copper Box if they secure the venue, it is important that they have a permanent base.

"I think we would still look to have the odd match elsewhere even if we do get the Copper Box to help capture the interest of the British public by taking matches to Wales, Scotland and Ireland," he said.

"We have a lot of popular Welsh, Scottish and Irish boxers in the team so there is the potential to do that.

"But I think there is a belief that you have to have roots with something like this and having a base in London with an Olympic Park link to our Olympic boxers would obviously be brilliant."

The Copper Box will be operated by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) when it reopens while it has already been confirmed as the home of British Basketball League (BBL) club London Lions for the 2013–14 season.

Once it reopens, the venue is expected to attract up to 500,000 visitors per year.

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