WSB Preview: Morocco battle Ukraine; Cuba take on China

WSB 26/03/2015

Morocco Atlas Lions host Ukraine Otamans in week 11 of the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

The Moroccan team won their last match away in London against British Lionhearts, while Ukraine defeated China at home last week.

This is also the penultimate match for these weight classes in the Regular Season, so there is significance for boxers competing who are aiming for Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification via WSB.

Hyatt Regency, Casablanca is the venue for this Group A clash, where on Friday 27th March fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 22:00 GMT at AIBABoxingTV.com.

Uzbekistan’s 5-0 Hasanboy Dusmatov has been one of Ukraine Otamans’ best boxers this season, and is ranked number two at Light flyweight (49 kg) two points behind Ireland’s Patrick Barnes.

Only one Light flyweight will qualify for Rio via WSB, so a win for Dusmatov against Moroccan debutant Yassine Zaher is imperative for the Uzbek star to keep Barnes in his sights heading into the last part of the Regular Season.

Another undefeated Uzbek fighter is Middleweight (75 kg) Hurshidbek Normatov who is 4-0 for Ukraine this season.

Normatov is ranked third at the weight class, a solitary point behind Poland’s number one Tomasz Jablonski, and level with Cuba’s Arlen Lopez.

Two Middleweight fighters will qualify for Rio through WSB, so Normatov will need an impressive victory over 1-2 Atlas Lion Said Harnouf who won his last home match.

1-2 Bantamweight (56 kg) Mohamed Hamout has not competed for over a month, but returns to action when he faces Ukraine’s 3-1 Mykola Butsenko who could enter the Bantamweight rankings if he succeeds in Casablanca.

Ukraine have not won a match at Light welterweight (64 kg) this season in five attempts, but neither has Morocco’s 0-5 Hamza El Barbari, which makes his clash with 0-1 Dmytro Grynchenko a very interesting one.

The last match of the evening is a Heavyweight (91 kg) shootout between Amine Azzouzi who competes for the first time since week one against Ukrainian debutant Arsenity Azizov.

Individual and Team glory up for grabs as China Dragons host Cuba Domadores

World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV Champions Cuba Domadores have won all ten of their matches in Season V, and look for an eleventh win in a row away to China Dragons.

Six fighters competing in this match still harbour aspirations of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and with just two matches to go for each competitor in the Regular Season, victories are vital for all concerned.

Mangrovetree Convention Center, Sanya is the venue for this Group A clash, where on Friday 27th March fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 19:30 (GMT +8) at AIBABoxingTV.com.

The first bout of the evening is an intriguing Light flyweight (49 kg) contest where both participants know a loss will end their hopes of qualifying for Rio.

Just one Olympic quota is available from this weight class, and with Ireland’s Paddy Barnes leading the rankings with 25 points, Cuba’s fourth placed 3-2 Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez and China’s fifth ranked He Junjun are both ten points behind.

Because of the form of Barnes, and second ranked Hasanboy Dusmatov, a win for either the Chinese star or the Cuban might not be enough to keep their dreams alive, but the loser will definitely miss out, which makes victory essential.

Cuba’s Andy Cruz Gomez has only competed in three matches this season, but still stands fifth in the Bantamweight (56 kg) rankings, five points behind leader Magomed Gurbanov.

Two Bantamweights will qualify for Rio, and with second ranked Francisco Martinez facing fourth placed Meirbolat Toitov this week, a win for Gomez will send him up the rankings.

To achieve the victory however, he will need to defeat Diao Jianhao who has won both of his home matches in Season V.

4-0 Cuban Light welterweight (64 kg) Yasniel Toledo did not compete two weeks ago, which means the undefeated fighter is now ranked fourth in his weight class.

Only two points separate the top four fighters however, so a convincing win over 1-2 Sairike Tuoliaowutayi could launch Toledo back to the top of the rankings.

Middleweight (75 kg) is a similarly tight division, but Arlen Lopez has the advantage of being ranked second in the division.

Lopez is a point behind Poland’s Tomasz Jablonski in the rankings, but level with Hurshidbek Normatov who the Cuban lost his last away match to a month ago.

His opponent in Sanya is Chinese debutant Chao Gejiletu who will be looking to cause an upset in his first WSB appearance.

WSB Season IV Boxer of the Year Erislandy Savon is 5-0 this season, but is a point behind the number one ranked Heavyweight (91 kg) Vasiliy Levit.

Only one qualification spot for Rio 2016 is available for the Heavyweights, so Savon will need his fourth stoppage success of the season against 0-1 Jin Guo.

Savon was recently named the American Boxing Confederation’s Men’s boxer of 2014, and will take confidence from that accolade heading into this contest.

Astana Arlans Kazakhstan hunt for 11th successive win away to USA Knockouts

The irresistible force meets the immovable object in week 11 of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) as USA Knockouts host Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.

USA Knockouts have lost three of their last four WSB matches but still remain third in the Group B table, while group leaders Astana Arlans Kazakhstan are undefeated in Season V.

With just two matches to go for the weight classes in action for this fixture, there is also massive importance for those boxers who are hoping for Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification via WSB.

Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, Miami is the venue for this Group B clash, where on Friday 27th March fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 20:00 (GMT -4) at AIBABoxingTV.com.

For much of Season V, American Bantamweight (56 kg) Francisco Martinez was ranked number one, but after losing his undefeated record two weeks ago to Michael Conlan, he has slid down to second in the standings.

Two Bantamweights will qualify for the Olympic Games, but with the third ranked Conlan now breathing down his neck, and Azerbaijan’s Magomed Gurbanov a point ahead, Martinez needs to return to winning ways against Meirbolat Toitov.

The 3-0 Toitov is fourth in the WSB rankings, and a win could take him above Martinez going into the final match of the Regular Season.

Will home advantage enable Martinez to steady the ship with Rio 2016 almost in his sights? Or will Toitov, in his first away match of the campaign, put himself firmly in the qualification picture?

Middleweight (75 kg) is one of the closest divisions in WSB this season, with the top four boxers separated by just two points.

Kazakhstan’s Meiirim Nursultanov has amassed a 4-0 record across the campaign, and sits fourth in the rankings with two matches to go.

Although his Rio 2016 destiny is not currently in his hands, Nursultanov defeated the number one seed Tomasz Jablonski two weeks ago, and knows an away victory against American debutant Kalvin Henderson will greatly improve his chances of moving up the rankings.

Perhaps the most competitive weight class in all of the competition is Heavyweight (91 kg) where just one boxer will qualify for Rio through WSB.

5-0 Kazakh Vasiliy Levit leads the rankings but is just a single point ahead of Cuba’s Erislandy Savon.

All five of Levit’s fights this season have not gone past the third round, and he will need another early night this week when he meets Adrian Taylor who makes his first appearance for USA Knockouts.

The action begins in Miami at Light flyweight (49 kg) when Joshua Franco faces 1-1 Temirtas Zhussupov, while fifth ranked Light welterweight (69 kg) Samat Bashenov needs to defeat Tyrek Irby to maintain any chances of qualifying for Rio.