World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV champions Cuba Domadores continued their dominance in the fifth installment of the competition with a 5-0 home win over Ukraine Otamans.
This was Cuba’s 14th straight win in Season V, but sadly for Ukraine the result moved them down to fourth in the Group A table, and outside of the qualification places for the knock-out stages.
The most important bout from an individual level came at Light heavyweight (81 kg) where two-time AIBA World Championships gold medalist Julio Cesar La Cruz temporarily moved to the top of the rankings after winning every round against 4-2 Oleksandr Khyzhniak.
La Cruz’s six win of the season was a vital one, especially as the number two and three ranked Valentino Mandredonia and Hrvoje Sep fight each other on Saturday night.
It was a classic La Cruz performance who outclassed his Ukrainian rival despite there only being one place between them in the rankings at the start of the match.
This means that the Cuban is now guaranteed to finish in the top two rankings, and as only two Rio 2016 Olympic Games quotas are available through WSB, his victory was incredibly significant.
Number one ranked Flyweight (52 kg) Yosbany Veitia had already earned his Rio quota before this fixture, but still moved to 7-0 in the opening contest of the evening when he defeated 3-3 Azat Usenaliev.
Veitia is perhaps the most complete fighter in WSB, and expertly showcased his wide range of punches, endless stamina and tight defence against Usenaliev who tried hard, but could not keep up with his opponent.
Lazaro Alvarez is another Cuban who has earned a Rio 2016 quota, and the Domadore finished the group stages number one in the Lightweight (60 kg) rankings with an entertaining win over Viktor Slavinskyi.
London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo secured Cuba’s overall win at Welterweight (69 kg) when he dominated Oleg Zubenko.
Sotolongo’s punches are always precise despite the high volume of them, and though Zubenko showed his toughness throughout, it was an impossible job against the Cuban machine.
6-1 Super heavyweight (91+ kg) Lenier Eunice Pero needed a stoppage or unanimous decision success over Ukraine’s Ihor Shevadzutskyi to temporarily move up to first in the rankings, but could only manage a split decision win against his tough opponent.
This was a very tight contest which was won by Pero on two scorecards by a single point, while Shevadzutskyi was awarded the fight by the third judge by the same amount.
Russian Boxing Team narrowly secure away win over Morocco Atlas Lions
Russian Boxing Team finished the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Regular Season with a 3-2 away victory against Morocco Atlas Lions in Casablanca.
The victory assures the Russian Franchise of second place in the Group A table, while Morocco should be proud of their efforts across the entirety of their debut WSB season.
A Lightweight (60 kg) clash began the action where Russia’s 5-1 Adlan Abdurashidov widely outpointed Hamza Rabii.
Despite Rabii’s enthusiasm and effort in the contest, Abdurashidov was the slicker boxer and was more accurate throughout the bout.
Abdurashidov’s win ensured his third place ranking in the Lightweight standings.
Russia then opened up a 2-0 lead on the night after Super heavyweight (91+ kg) 4-1 Maxim Babanin defeated Morocco’s Abouhamada Abdeljalil.
Babanin was the shorter competitor, but set a fast pace constantly and used his jab effectively to set up his fierce uppercuts.
The most significant fight of the evening came at Flyweight (52 kg) where 5-2 home star Achraf Kharroubi temporarily moved to second in the rankings after beating Russian debutant Karen Arutiunian.
Kharroubi is now three points ahead of Puerto Rico’s Jeyvier Cintrón Ocasio who now needs to win in America on Monday night to earn a Rio 2016 Olympic Games quota through WSB.
A marvelous crowd applauded Kharroubi in the fight knowing that a win was vital, and he did not let them down.
The Moroccan star has every punch in the book, and used them all to great effect against Arutiunian.
Sixth ranked Light heavyweight (81 kg) Pavel Silyagin secured the overall contest for Russia, and his fourth split decision success of the season when he defeated Holland’s Peter Mullenberg.
Silyagin was the better fighter in the early stages of the contest, and though Mullenberg rallied late, the judges preferred the work of the Russian.
Morocco’s 7-0 Mohammed Rabii finished the night off with success for his Franchise, and ended the group stages top of the Welterweight (69 kg) rankings with a win over former AIBA Junior World Champion and European Junior Champion Tamerlan Magomedov.
Rabii had already earned his Rio 2016 Olympic quota from WSB heading into this fight, and his supreme confidence was displayed in the first minute as he fast hands caused Magomedov problems.
An injury to the Russian in the second minute of the contest caused the fight to be called off at that stage, which led to Rabii’s seventh successive win of the season.
Mexico Guerreros qualify for WSB quarter-finals with victory over British Lionhearts
A masterful home performance in Aguascalientes from Mexico Guerreros finished with a 4-1 victory over British Lionhearts, and a place in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) knock-out stages.
After Ukraine Otamans lost to Cuba Domadores earlier on Friday night, the Mexican team knew a win over the British Franchise would see them overtake Ukraine into third place, and they achieved their goal in style.
The night began with defeat for Mexico however, when 6-1 Lionheart Joseph Joyce edged a close points win over Edgar Ramirez.
Joyce’s punches were slightly cleaner and crisper than the work of Ramirez, which led to him to being awarded the contest by a single point on all three scorecards.
4-2 Guerrero Orlando Huitzil Ahuatl evened the scoring at Flyweight (52 kg) with a superb victory against Spain’s José Kelvin de la Nieve Linares.
This was the best performance of the season from Ahuatl who outclassed his opponent from the outset, with his fast pace and wicked body shots too much for the Lionheart to handle.
Mexico took the lead at Welterweight when 3-2 Marvin Cabrera outperformed Britain’s 2-4 Haizel Ekow Tabiri-Essuman despite suffering a head injury in the first round.
Following the success of Cabrera, 3-0 Light heavyweight (81 kg) Rogelio Romero knew that a win over John Newell would not only win the fixture for Mexico, but send his team through to the quarter-final stages of WSB.
Just 100 seconds into the contest, Romero had knocked out Newell with a tremendous left hand to send the Mexican crowd into a frenzy.
Mexico’s 4-1 victory was confirmed in the last fight at Lightweight (60 kg) when 4-1 Lindolfo Delgado dropped 0-4 Lionheart Oualid Belaoura in the fourth round en route to a dominant points win.
Confident Caciques Venezuela defeat Rafako Hussars Poland 4-1 in Pruszków
Caciques Venezuela temporarily moved into third place in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Group B table after defeating Rafako Hussars Poland 4-1 in Pruszków.
This victory gives the South American Franchise hope of reaching the WSB knock-out stages in their debut season, but they will have to rely on Italia Thunder losing to Astana Arlans Kazakhstan on Saturday night to confirm their quarter-final place.
Venezuela’s 3-2 Eduard Johan Bermúdez Salas enjoyed his first away win of the season in the opening contest with a unanimous points success over Polish Flyweight (52 kg) Grzegorz Kozlowski.
Salas controlled the contest despite being the smaller fighter, and was consistently first to the punch.
Poland’s Mateusz Polski then evened up the scoring as he beat Caciques Lightweight (60 kg) Luis Cabrera by a single points on all three scorecards.
Backed by a supportive crowd, Polski put the pressure on from the opening seconds of the contest, and though Cabrera impressed in the latter stages of the fight, it was not enough to secure the victory.
Venezuela retook the lead at Welterweight (69 kg) after 2013 AIBA World Championships bronze medalist Gabriel Maestre Perez edged a split decision verdict over third ranked Steven Donnelly.
This was the best fight of the evening as two world class boxers gave it their all, but ultimately the fizzing shots from both hands of Maestre impressed the judges more than Donnelly’s work to the body.
Albert Ramon Ramirez Duran then moved up to fourth in the Light heavyweight (81 kg) rankings, and secured the overall victory for Venezuela when he won another split decision verdict against 1-5 Mateusz Jerzy Tryc.
Duran utilised a creative approach in this fight, competing with his hands down for the majority of it while relying on his excellent reflexes to win 49-46 on two scorecards.
Venezuelan Super heavyweight (91+ kg) Edgar Ramon Munoz Mata won his third straight WSB fight in the last bout of the evening when he dropped just one round on a single scorecard to 0-3 Mantas Valavicius.
Clinical China Dragons secure crucial 5-0 victory over Algeria Desert Hawks
China Dragons finished their season in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) with an excellent 5-0 victory over Algeria Desert Hawks.
This result consigned Algeria to bottom place in the Group A table, while the Chinese team was backed by an excellent support at home in Sanya.
An entertaining Flyweight (52 kg) clash started the evening off with success for China as Jianguan Hu won every round against Algeria’s Abdelhakim El Barka.
The combination punching of the Chinese star was marvelous to watch, and he was just too quick and accurate for El Barka.
3-1 Lightweight (60 kg) Jan Shan doubled the advantage of the Dragons after fight number two when he edged a tight split decision verdict over Algerian debutant Faical Chaouche.
Shan was the more powerful boxer and staggered Chaouche on occasion, but the Desert Hawk fighter never gave up and took the last round on two scorecards.
Despite the late success for Chaouche only one judge awarded him the overall contest 48-47, while the remaining two judges awarded it to Shan by three rounds each.
China’s overall win was secured at Welterweight (69 kg) after a blistering performance from Wei Liu who stopped Sofiane Tabi at the end of the fourth round.
This was perhaps the most entertaining fight of the evening, and it was hard to predict a winner after the first two rounds, such was the closeness of the action.
Liu began to dominate from the third round however, and dropped Tabi in the fourth frame after a constant barrage of heavy punches.
After more flurries later on in the round, the contest was eventually ended and the hand of Liu was raised.
Another win for the Dragons occurred at Light heavyweight (81 kg) as Aolin Zhang secured his first success of the season with a points win over Hichem Kaalaour.
The Chinese whitewash was then secured in the last scrap in Sanya when 2-2 Wang Zhibao won by split decision against Mohamed Grimes.
Zhibao used his height very effectively in the fight, and two judges awarded him every round, while the third had Grimes winning by three.