By Gary Anderson

The World Series of Boxing has announced the signing of the Moroccan Atlas Lions for Season V ©WSBThe Morocco Atlas Lions have been unveiled as the latest addition to Season V of the World Series of Boxing following an official signing ceremony in Casablanca.

The Atlas Lions are one of four new franchises set to take part in Season V of the competition joining the newly rebranded China Dragons, a team from Venezuela and a yet-to-be named 16th franchise.

WSB chief executive Karim Bouzidi was joined at the signing ceremony in Casablanca by officials from the Moroccan Royal Boxing Federation including vice-president Mohamed Loumaïni and secretary general of the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports, Karim Akkari.

"This agreement is significant in regards to the further development of the sport of boxing in Morocco," said Bouzidi.

"The WSB is the only truly global boxing league in the world, and it opens new doors towards new exciting opportunities for Moroccan boxers.

"At the same time, this agreement represents an important step forward for our league which now embraces in its family two of the strongest boxing nations of Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco."

The Atlas Lions will face a tough looking clash with North African neighbours, the Algeria Desert Hawks, as both teams have been drawn in Group A.

They also face a daunting debut in the competition as they will take on reigning champions the Cuba Domadores in their first outing, while they also have matches against last season's semi-finalists The Russian Boxing Team, Team Germany, Ukraine Otamans, Mexico Guerreros and fellow new-boys the China Dragons.

Reigning champions Cuba Domadores will have their eyes firmly fixed on the Morocco Atlas Lions as they make their debut in the WSB ©WSBReigning champions Cuba Domadores will have their eyes firmly fixed on the Morocco Atlas Lions as they make their debut in the WSB ©WSB

Commenting on the unveiling of the Morocco Atlas Lions, International Boxing Association (AIBA) C K Wu, hailed the addition of the new team claiming that it demonstrates the growing attraction of boxing around the world.

"We are proud to welcome another important boxing nation from the African continent into WSB," said Wu.

"[The] arrival of the Moroccan team to our league proves that interest among world's boxing nations in the AIBA Competition programmes is growing.

"And this means that we are moving our beloved sport into right direction."

The logo for the Morocco Atlas Lions will be unveiled shortly, according to the WSB as will the name of the Venezuelan franchise and the identity of the 16th and final team for Season V.

Season III champions the Astana Arlans and last season's beaten finalists the Azerbaijan Baku Fires headline Group B where they are joined by the USA Knockouts, Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder, the Argentina Condors, the Poland Hussars, the new Venezuelan outfit and the unnamed 16th franchise.

The competition is set to get underway on January 16 and 17 with the Atlas Lions' trip to Cuba and the Mexico Guerreros travelling to Ukraine to take on the Otamans.

The Russian Boxing team will host the Algeria Desert Hawks with the China Dragons making their return to the ring with an away trip to Team Germany.

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