World Series of Boxing: Series VI kicks off this weekend

WSB 15/01/2016

The curtain finally goes up on Season VI of the World Series of Boxing this weekend, as Turkiye Conquerors tackle the China Dragons on a big night of boxing in Istanbul. The match marks the home team’s debut against an Asian outfit that joined WSB in Season V, meaning both teams will be desperate to begin their campaigns with a victory.

It is a welcome return to WSB for a Turkish franchise, with Istanbul Bospherous having been involved in Season I and II of the competition. Six years on and with a format shift to countries rather than individual cities, the boxers will be keen to impress infront of their fans on Saturday night. In the opposite corner is a China Dragons side who finished sixth in their group last season ahead of notable rivals the British Lionhearts and Algeria Desert Hawks, and will be keen to use that experience to qualify for the knockout phase this time around.

Five weight classes will be in action from 19.30 (GMT) on Saturday at Istanbul’s Bagcilar Sport Complex: Light Flyweight (49kg), Bantamweight (56kg), Light Welterweight (64kg), Middleweight (75kg) and Heavyweight (91kg), with all the action streamed live on the WSB YouTube channel.

The opening bout of Season VI will see Turkiye Conquerors strong light flyweight Hamza Kartal take on China Dragons’ technician He Junjun it what could be the standout match of the evening. Both boxers have good WSB experience under their belts, with Junjun winning three times against top opponents in Season V. In the night’s second encounter, Hakan Cigdem, who only recently moved up to the bantamweight class, will be braced for a tough time against China’s Xu Boxiang as he looks to make his mark on WSB debut.

London 2012 Olympian Yakup Sener is the most senior Turkish boxer in their line up, back in his preferred light welterweight class and with a great chance of defeating Dragons newcomer Meng Caicheng. Another experienced Turk in the ring on Saturday will be their National Championships bronze medalist Evren Tibukoglu, who was involved in WSB Season I and will be looking to overcome China’s Zhao Minggang.

The final bout of the night will see Turkey’s top heavyweight Seyda Keser eager to close the night on a high and show what he can do against China’s 20-year-old Yu Fengkai, himself no stranger to the big stage having competed at last year’s ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships in Bangkok.