Azerbaijan Baku Fires registered their second home win of WSB Season VI on Friday night in Baku, comfortably taking the match 4-1 despite a valiant fight from their Group D rivals Puerto Rico Hurricanes, who are left chasing their first win of the campaign.
The Fires’ new light flyweight boxer Rasul Saliev has replaced Javid Dadashov for Season VI, but was unable to show off his talent infront of the home crowd after opponent Anthony Ortiz was taken ill and could not fight.
With the walkover giving the hosts the advantage, bantamweight Iarash Magomedov was then able to double the lead in the second bout against Hurricanes’ 19-year-old Edgardo Rolon. Opting for a patient approach to try and secure his first WSB win, several rapid jabs in the first round put the Puerto Rican southpaw on the back foot, and Magomedov controlled the contest to the final bell.
Azerbaijan’s experienced London 2012 Olympian Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev was the sole member of the side to win in Kazakhstan in Week 2, but he faced a Jean Carlos Rivera who had been unbeaten in Season V. Rivera couldn’t find any route through his opponent’s defences this time around, and Gadzhialiyev’s win put the Fires into a commanding 3-0 lead.
The bout of the evening followed between Puerto Rico Hurricanes’ French star and European Union Champion Christian Mbilli Assomo and Azerbaijan’s National Middleweight Champion Mikalai Vesialou. Assomo looked comfortable close-in to his opponent, and his greater accuracy brought a morale-boosting win for the visitors to take with them to their tough match against reigning champions Astana Arlans in two weeks’ time .
Closing out the evening in Baku were the heavyweights Abdulkadir Abdullayev and Roman Fress. Puerto Rico Hurricanes’ German draft pick Fress tried to control the bout from range in the opening two rounds, but a signature right hook from Abdullayev in the third round put his opponent on the canvas, giving the referee no choice but to award the bout to the hosts, completing a convincing 4-1 win for the Baku Fires.
Teenage stars Stevenson, Russell and Conwell on fire as USA Knockouts secure 3-2 win in Casablanca
The USA Knockouts prevented the Morocco Atlas Lions grabbing a precious first win of Season VI during a close contest in Casablanca on Friday night, with new sensation Shakur Stevenson again leading the way during a crucial 3-2 away victory.
The Atlas Lions’ sole winner from their Week 2 defeat against Mexico Guerreros, African Champion Imad Ahayoun, was first into the ring at light flyweight against Knockouts’ Colombian debutant Hernan Alarcon. The 22-year-old Moroccan put together a great run towards the end of the second round, before Alarcon fought his way back into contention with a brilliant fourth, but it was too little too late and Ahayoun took the judges’ decision.
Morocco’s 2014 National Light Welterweight Champion Abdelhaq Nadir then made his debut in the second bout of the evening against US National Olympic Trials winner Gary Russell. The American was keen for a strong start and had Nadir on the ropes before a big left in the third round put his opponent on the ground, leaving the referee to award Russell the TKO triumph to tie the match at 1-1.
With the contest nicely balanced, Knockouts’ talented newcomer Charles Conwell was able to edge his team ahead as he overcame the hosts’ veteran African Champion Badreddine Haddioui, and the increasingly impressive figure of 18 year-old bantamweight Shakur Stevenson then put the tie beyond any doubt as he powered through against African Champion Mohamed Hamout. Athlete of the Week in Week 2, Stevenson again showed why he could be one of the biggest names in boxing in 2016, consummately snuffing out Hamout’s aggressive attacks.
Another Atlas Lions African Champion, Abdeldjalil Abouhamada, ensured the evening ended on a high note for the fans, delivering an emphatic win against Knockouts newcomer Brandon Glanton. Abouhamada looked fresh at the start of a busy Olympic year, and with Glanton unable to summon a fightback, the Moroccan took a unanimous judges’ decision. That meant the night ended 3-2 to USA Knockouts, who moved into second place in Group B and will now travel to London for a top-of-the-table clash with British Lionhearts in Week 8.