WSB: Quarter-finals get underway Thursday in London and Havana

WSB 20/04/2016

The quarter-finals of WSB Season VI get underway in London’s York Hall on Thursday with the British Lionhearts facing Ukraine Otamans over two nights.

An impressive Group Stage saw the Lionhearts crowned Team of the Regular Season as they topped Group B, while the Otamans, whom the British side have yet to beat in WSB, finished second in Group A. Here are the pick of the contests in East London.

Samuel Maxwell arrived on the world stage at the relatively late age of 23 when he beat Azeri star Albert Selimov in the 2012 AIBA European Olympic Qualification Tournament. Maxwell defeated a Ukrainian rival, Mger Oganisian, during Season V, but his next opponent will be the team’s most experienced boxer, 33-year-old Volodymyr Matviichuk.

The veteran light welterweight defeated Türkiye Conquerors’ strong Yakup Sener during Week 5, and will provide a stern test for the Brit’s skills on Thursday evening with his long range and patient approach in the ring.

Powerful Frazer Clarke made his WSB debut against Morocco Atlas Lions’ Ahmed Bourous in Casablanca during Week 4, controlling their contest from the first round using his weight and height advantage well and winning the WSB Athlete of Week 4 award in the process. Clarke’s equally impressive second bout of the season saw him take on Mexico Guerreros’ Nigel Paul, with the referee halting the contest after 72 seconds in the Brit’s favour.

Clarke now faces Ukraine Otamans’ debutant Vladyslav Sirenko, a quick super heavyweight who claimed silver at the 2013 EUBC European Confederation Youth Boxing Championships in Rotterdam and has enough experience with some 120 bouts under his belt to cause an upset in York Hall.

Impressive Cuba Domadores take on battling Mexico Guerreros in Season VI Quarter-Finals in Havana

World Series of Boxing Season IV Champions and Season V Runners-Up Cuba Domadores have once again carved themselves a comfortable route through the competition’s Group Stages, setting up a Season VI quarter-final showdown with Group B runners-up Mexico Guerreros.

The Guerreros leapfrogged rivals USA Knockouts with a dramatic Week 11 win over British Lionhearts to reach the Play-Off stages, and will need to build on that victory if they are to emerge from the difficult tie with a place in the semi-finals. Here are the pick of the most anticipated bouts taking place on Thursday and Friday nights in Havana:

Cuban technician Yasnier Toledo Lopez has been a key member of the National squad since 2006, during which time he claimed bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games before qualifying for Rio 2016 with his superb form in WSB Season V.

The Domadores star defeated Türkiye Conquerors’ Yakup Sener during Week 9, and will be looking to use his remarkable footwork once again against Mexico Guerreros’ top boxer Raul Curiel, who also made the Rio 2016 list thanks to an undefeated Season V campaign. Both are seasoned campaigners at this level, and the duo may well produce one of the best bouts of the quarter-finals’ first day.

Cuba’s reigning AIBA World Middleweight Champion Arlen Lopez has already put together an incredible WSB record since being drafted in to the National side just two years ago. Renowned for his uncompromising TKO wins, the power and quick jabs that have become his signature in the ring make Lopez a crucial part of the Domadores side.

The Cuban will meet Misael Rodriguez, who can box with the freedom of a man knowing his Rio 2016 quota place is assured following the recent AIBA American Olympic Qualification Event in Buenos Aires. A strong campaign in Season V made him a favourite with the Mexican fans, but a win against Lopez would ensure superstar status back home.

Cuba’s 24-year-old Lazaro Jorge Alvarez joined the national team five years ago, and with three AIBA World Championships already to his name and a WSB Team title from Season IV, the Domadores star will receive a hero’s welcome from the Havana crowd.

Alvarez can expect a tough contest against Mexico Guerreros’ top lightweight Lindolfo Delgado Garza. However, the experienced campaigner has some big WSB names under his belt with victories over USA Knockouts’ Carlos Balderas, Ukraine Otamans’ Oleh Prudkiy and China Dragons’ Lei Wang, and having helped his team through to the play-offs with an important win over British Lionhearts’ Oualid Belaoura in Week 11, he would no doubt love to add Alvarez to that list.