An excellent night of World Series of Boxing (WSB) action in Kyiv was won by Ukraine Otamans who defeated Russian Boxing Team 3-2.
This was an important result for Ukraine after Mexico Guerreros won earlier in the day, and after retaking third in the Group A table, they are now just two points behind the Russian Franchise with one match of the Regular Season to go.
The fixture also held much significance for many individual competitors as it represented their last match of the group stages, and their final chance to earn a Rio 2016 Olympic Games quota through WSB.
Uzbekistan’s Light flyweight (49 kg) Hasanboy Dusmatov has been an excellent operator for the Otamans this season, and earned his seventh successive win in the opening contest by defeating Russia’s 0-2 Belik Galanov.
Only one Olympic quota is available at Light flyweight, and Dusmatov temporarily moved to the top of the rankings after this victory which leaves him three points ahead of Ireland’s Patrick Barnes who competes on Saturday night.
Dusmatov was excellent against Galanov, and dictated the pace of the bout throughout.
Ukraine went 2-0 up in the second bout of the evening by finally winning their first match of the season at Light welterweight (64 kg).
Volodymyr Matviichuk had lost two of those six contests, but achieved a marvelous performance when he beat Russian National Championships bronze medallist Grigorii Lizunenko on points.
Matviichuk was busy in every round, and kept on top of Lizunenko whose sole success was winning the third round on all three scorecards.
Following the early Ukrainian successes, Russia’s 6-0 Petr Khamukov needed to win at Middleweight (75 kg) if his Franchise was to have any chance of winning the overall contest, but he also entered the ring with another mission on his mind.
The Middleweight (75 kg) led the rankings at the beginning of the week, while his undefeated opponent Hurshidbek Normatov could also qualify for Rio if he defeated his Russian rival in Kyiv.
Despite being the shorter fighter, Khamukov was much stronger, and used his boxing brain to manhandle Normatov across the ring throughout their meeting.
After five rounds, Khamukov’s hand was raised, earning Russia their first victory of the match, whilst moving him back to the top of the Middleweight rankings where an Olympic quota awaits.
6-0 Russian Bantamweight (56 kg) Vladimir Nikitin then evened up the scoring, and secured his own Rio quota with a unanimous points win over 0-2 Omurbek Malabekov.
This was a surprisingly close fight considering the gulf in the rankings between the two fighters, but though Malabekov presented a lot of problems, the exemplary Nikitin eventually pulled away and sealed the win.
Nikitin is now assured of finishing in the top two places at Bantamweight, no matter what happens on Saturday night.
With everything to play for heading into the last match of the evening at Heavyweight (91 kg), two men making their first appearances of the season competed against each other.
Ukraine’s Gevorg Manukyan was a relative unknown in WSB heading into this bout, but made a huge name for himself by outperforming Russia’s Sergey Kalchugin and secured a memorable win for his team.
Manukyan displayed tremendous stamina for a Heavyweight, and the Ukrainian stunned Kalchugin on occasion with the accuracy of his shots.
After this victory, Ukraine Otamans visit Cuba Domadores in the last match of the Regular Season, while Russian Boxing Team travel to Morocco Atlas Lions.
Mexico Guerreros maintain knockout dreams with away win over China Dragons
A solid 4-1 away victory against China Dragons ensured Mexico Guerreros returned to winning ways in the World Series of Boxing (WSB), and kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of Season V.
The Mexican Franchise are now two points behind third placed Ukraine Otamans with just one match of the Regular Season to go.
A passionate crowd at the Mangrovetree Convention Center, Sanya was treated to five bouts of high action, which began at Light flyweight (49 kg) when 6-1 Joselito Velázquez Altamirano defeated China’s He Junjun by split decision.
Both of these boxers have competed well this season, but the Mexican fighter produced the better work throughout the fight, although Junjun managed to sting his elusive guard a couple of times during each round.
China evened up the scoring at Bantamweight (56 kg) when 3-2 Diao Jianhao won another split decision verdict over Sergio Alfredo Chirino Sánchez.
Jianhao was awarded the contest 49-46 by two judges due to his power punches and busier output, while Sánchez won 48-47 according to the third scorecard.
In the most significant individual match of the evening, Mexico’s 6-1 Raúl Curiel García temporarily moved to second in the Light welterweight (64 kg) rankings after winning every round against Jun Yang.
Despite the wide gap on the scorecards, Yang was competitive throughout, yet the main difference was that every time he managed to punch Curiel, the Mexican responded with a flurry of accurate shots which changed the landscape of each round.
With two Olympic quotas available at the weight class through WSB, Curiel is currently four points ahead of Vincenzo Mangiacapre and Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev who both compete on Saturday night.
If neither fighter wins their last contest then Curiel will finish second in the rankings, and achieve a potential place in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Mexico achieved the overall victory at Middleweight (75 kg) as Misael Uriel Rodríguez Oliva outpointed Zhou Di in the most entertaining bout of the evening.
Both men stood toe-to-toe from the opening bell, and landed frequent heavy shots on each other throughout each frame.
The work of the Guerrero was more impressive however, and despite losing the last round on two scorecards he was awarded a unanimous decision verdict.
Julio Cesar Castillo Torres then ended Mexico’s evening with a flourish when the 3-0 Heavyweight (91 kg) stopped China’s Li Mingtao with a sharp left hook in round two of their contest.
Mexico Guerreros finish their Regular Season next week at home to British Lionhearts, while China Dragons host Algeria Desert Hawks.