Rafako Hussars Poland struggled once more to cope with the South American swagger of Caciques de Venezuela, suffering a 3-2 defeat in their World Series of Boxing Season VI opening match.
It was a third straight defeat for the Hussars at the hands of the Venezuelans, whose management had reinforced their team during December’s Draft Pick with the likes of Riccardo D’Andrea, but even the experienced Italian couldn’t halt the Venezuelan march.
The early signs looked positive from the hosts, now led by one of WSB’s most well-travelled coaches Sergey Korchinsky. Dawid Jagodzinski was in attacking mood against Angelino Cordova in their opening light-flyweight bout, but he was unable to sustain the pressure, allowing the Venezuelan too much room from which to launch his combinations and earn the visitors an early lead.
That left high expectations on the shoulders of Hussars’ newcomer D’Andrea and he edged the opening round against Jose Diaz. The crowd’s growing optimism was to be short lived as the Caciques’ bantamweight talent landed a lethal right jab late in the second round to put the Italian on the canvas, forcing the referee to end the match. After knocking out an Argentine opponent, Elias Gonzalez, last season, Diaz is earning himself a reputation for landing big punches.
At 2-0 down, the Hussars were able to call upon another exciting draft pick, Germany’s light welterweight star Kastriot Sopa, to try and turn the match around. Eager to inflict an emphatic defeat, Caciques’ Luis Arcon went on the attack immediately. Sopa had little response in the opening rounds but as Arcon tired, the German grew in confidence, using all his experience to carve out a narrow win over the five rounds.
Pawel Ruminski was called upon to replace Polish welterweight star Tomasz Jablonski in Friday’s team, and his debut could hardly have been more testing against Rio 2016 Olympic Test Event winner Johan Jose Gonzalez and with his team 2-1 down. Despite a battling performance, Ruminski was unable to cause an upset, and the Caciques took an unassailable 3-1 lead on the night.
It may have been a dead rubber in terms of the match, but the final heavyweight bout between the hosts’ Michal Olas and Caciques’ Colombian import Deivis Julio brought a morale-boosting win for Rafako Hussars. Struggling early on, Olas bravely fought his way back into the match, knocking his opponent down in the third round and giving the crowd something to cheer on a difficult night for the Poles.
Astana Arlans begin WSB title defence in style with convincing win over Baku Fires
Defending World Series of Boxing champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan began the defence of their title in style on Friday night, defeating Azerbaijan Baku Fires 4-1 in the Kazakh city of Karaganda.
Light flyweight star Temirtas Zhussupov got the hosts off to a strong start against WSB debutant Javid Dadashov in the evening’s opening bout. The 28 year-old was faster than his young opponent, never letting up his intensity until the final bell, and a unanimous decision from the judges gave Arlans the lead.
Their two-time WSB champion Meirbolat Toitov then doubled the advantage, narrowly beating the aggressive Iarash Magomedov in a gripping encounter. The 2-0 lead took the pressure off Arlans’ own debutant Yerkin Mukhametzhan, in for the injured Vassiliy Levit, up against the strong southpaw Haji Murtazaliyev. After a nervy start, Mukhametzhan landed a dangerous body blow in the third round and began to grow in stature, taking the judges’ decision and securing the Arlans their first win of Season VI.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s team captain Samat Bashenov unfortunately could not enter the line up, with Askhat Ualikhanov deputising against Baku Fires’ London 2012 Olympian you Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev. The Azeri proved the stronger boxer over five rounds, notching the Fires’ an important first victory of the new season against the reigning champions.
Kazakhstan controlled the final bout of the match to seal a comfortable victory, with National Champion Meirim Nursultanov proving exactly why he is going to be one to watch this year, defeating Baku Fires’ Georgian boxer Badri Khardzhiani in emphatic fashion to give the Arlans a precious 4-1 win over their great rivals.
Mexico Guerreros back to WSB winning ways as they tame Morocco Atlas Lions with a 4-1 victory
An uncompromising display of WSB boxing from Mexico Guerreros brought the home side a comfortable victory over Morocco Atlas Lions at the Unidad Deportiva IV Centenario in Aguascalientes on Saturday night. Following a brilliant campaign in Season V that took the Guerreros all the way to the semi-finals, the manner of their 4-1 Season VI opening win in Group B suggests they have lost none of their edge, and will again find themselves among the favourites for this season’s title.
An exciting heavyweight tussle got the night underway with the hosts’ Ecuadorian star Julio Castillo facing Morocco Atlas Lions’ Abdeldjalil Abouhamada. Having defeated his opponent at the Rio 2016 Test Event in December, the experienced southpaw Castillo repeated the feat with a patient display that left a tired Abouhamada with little room in which to mount a challenge.
Lions’ bantamweight Azzedine Madjoubi then made his WSB debut hoping to level the tie against the hosts’ 21-year-old Sergio Chirino, but after a composed start that saw some excellent punches landing, Chirino picked up the rhythm and delivered a second win for the Guerreros. The Mexican franchise were able to unveil their Colombian Draft Pick acquisition in the third match, and the AMBC American Confederation middleweight Champion Jorge Luis Vivas showed what a valuable addition to the squad he will be with a commanding performance over Morocco’s Said Harnouf.
At 3-0 down the visitors managed to register a morale-boosting first victory of the season in the fourth match of the evening, with light flyweight Imad Ahayoun proving too strong for Guerrero’s Mexican National Champion Elwin Soto on his debut. The match will have provided some crucial WSB experience for the newcomer, however, and his aggressive style will no doubt prove to be a valuable weapon in his side’s campaign this year.
The Mexicans sealed a comfortable 4-1 victory in crowd-pleasing style as their Rio 2016 qualifier Raul Curiel, unbeaten last season, fended off the early challenge from Morocco’s 2012 Olympian southpaw Abdelhak Aatakni to deliver an explosive TKO in the third round.
Uzbek Tigers in ruthless form on WSB debut as they snuff out the Puerto Rico Hurricanes in San Juan
Uzbekistan Tigers got their first World Series of Boxing campaign off to a flying start as they subjected Puerto Rico Hurricanes to a 5-0 whitewash in San Juan on Saturday night. The hosts could find no answer to the new franchise’s boxing prowess at the Coliseo Pedrin Zorrila.
Following an unbeaten Season V with the Ukraine Otamans, Uzbek light flyweight Hasanboy Dusmatov looked determined to get his native country a first WSB win under their belts, the southpaw going straight onto the attack against 20-year-old Anthony Ortiz. A strong left hook had Ortiz on the canvas in the opening round, but he recovered well, taking Dusmatov right down to the wire before the judges awarded the Tigers a precious first WSB win.
The two young bantamweights Edgardo Rolon and Abdulkhay Sharakhmatov then put on a frenetic and entertaining display of boxing in match two, Rolon landing some strong body shots early on before Tigers newcomer Sharakhmatov found his rhythm and length to dominate the latter stages and give the visitors a surprise 2-0 lead.
That left Hurricanes debutant Jorge Martinez with the huge task of upsetting Uzbekistan’s newly crowned National Champion Fazliddin Meliboev if the hosts were to salvage anything from the tie. Sadly for the home fans, Martinez, up against one of the world’s most promising light welterweights, was second-best from the outset, Meliboev jabbing effectively throughout and sealing an incredible debut victory for the Tigers.
With the hosts deflated, the whitewash was completed as first the young middleweight Ulugbek Khakberdiev’s brushed aside Raul Sanchez and then former AIBA Junior World Champion Mirzobek Khasanov beat Jose Rosado by TKO, rounding off a comprehensive victory for Uzbekistan Tigers on a night the Puerto Rico Hurricanes will be keen to forget.