Group A leaders Ukraine Otamans travelled to China high on confidence after a thrilling win over Group A rivals Cuba Domadores a fortnight ago, but the China Dragons carved out one of the performances of the season so far to win 4-1 on Saturday night to the delight of the home crowd.
The hosts leap-frogged Turkiye Conquerors to go third in the group after the European side lost 5-0 in Havana, a result that sent the Cubans top.
In the first bout of the day, China Dragons’ He Junjun was in determined mood against Nazar Kurotchyn, his well-timed jabs repeatedly finding their target early on. The Dragons’ star grew stronger as the bout wore on and the crowd erupted as Kurotchyn was floored in the fifth round and counted out of the contest.
At 1-0 up, the WSB Athlete of Week 1, Xu Boxiang, looked composed in front of his home fans against Otamans’ Oleh Dovhun. An even contest exploded into life in the fifth and the Dragons’ man powered through to take the round 10:8 on all three scorecards and give the hosts a commanding 2-0 lead.
China Dragons’ light welterweight Meng Caicheng then delivered a superb performance against Ukraine Otamans’ 20-year-old Denys Pesotskyy to earn his first WSB win and give his side an unassailable 3-0 lead. Working from distance in the tight early rounds, Meng then found his rhythm closer in during the fourth, and despite a concerted fight back from Pesotskyy in the fifth, the Dragons’ hero had already done enough to earn the judges’ decision and a precious win for the team.
Dragons’ inexperienced Hanati Ayiben then had a tough challenge in the form of Otamans’ 2015 European Games competitor Valerii Kharlamov, but the southpaw’s stamina saw him through to record a memorable victory. At 4-0 down, the visitors finally got on the scoreboard in the final bout of the night as Ukrainian heavyweight Dmytro Lisovyi turned up the heat against Dragons’ debutant Zhang Zhe, but the victory was already assured and the China Dragons had caused the upset of the weekend on a night to remember for their home fans.
Russian Boxing Team defeats Rafako Hussars Poland 4-1 in Moscow to take their place at the top of Group C
After three wins on the road so far this season, Russian Boxing Team made a triumphant return to Moscow on Saturday night, defeating Rafako Hussars Poland 4-1 in the Druhzba Sport Palace. The win puts the Russians top of their group just ahead of Venezuela Caciques, with Poland still chasing their first win of the season.
In the opening bout, former Russian National Champion Belik Galanov enjoyed his season debut against Rafako Hussars’ AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist Dawid Jagodzinski. Unable to repeat his form of Season V, Jadodzinski was in trouble early on and a series of lethal Galanov right hands soon gave the Moscow crowd a TKO win to cheer.
Also making his first appearance this campaign was the hosts’ Vladimir Nikitin, and he picked up where his impressive 2015 left off with a showcase of boxing prowess to defeat Hussars’ Italian draft pick Riccardo D’Andrea by unanimous decision. At 2-0 down, Poland’s Mateusz Kostecki then delivered an inspired performance to overcome Russian U22 National Champion Grigorii Lizunenko, the referee ending their match in the third round to give the visitors hope of a turn-around.
Step forward Russian Boxing Team’s Petr Khamukov and Rafako Hussars Poland’s Tomasz Jablonski, two middleweight greats repeating their dramatic final of the 2015 EUBC European Confederation Boxing Championships. The result was to be the same as that gold medal epic despite Jablonski’s WSB pedigree, with Khamukov in imperious form to take all five rounds and ensure the Russians of the match win.
The two heavyweights Islam Tekeev and Poland’s Michal Olas then rounded off the night in fitting style, the Russian Tekeev on the attack throughout before surviving a late surge to take the points win and secure a 4-1 in front of the delighted Moscow fans. The Russians will host Venezuela Caciques on 1 April in a match that could decide who tops the group.