Group B pace-setters Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, unbeaten in their five matches this season, will look to further cement their status of early season favourites when Ukraine Otamans come to town this Friday 18 January (20.30 local time). Kazak team captain Ruslan Myrsatayev, named Asian WSB Boxer of 2012, along with Miras Zhakupov, Samat Bashenov, Konstantin Snigur and Iran’s Ehsan Rouzbahani will all be in action for the home team on the night.
23-year-old Zhakupov, who boasts two wins from as many World Series of Boxing (WSB) outings this season, will get the show underway in the Bantamweight (50-54kg) bout when he faces the Otamans’ Moldovan southpaw Alexandr Riscan. The home boxer has the height and reach advantage in this one so with the fervent backing of his fans, should have the tools to claim the victory in the opening contest of the match.
Up next will be the Lightweight (57-61kg) battle of the southpaws between Bashenov and Ukraine’s 24-year-old Dmytro Rudenko. The fleet-footed Arlans’ 25-year-old will begin as slight favourite with his height and experience but will have to be on his guard against an opponent with a reputation as a heavy-hitter. Rudenko has been training alongside pound for pound king Vasyl Lomachenko so will be confident for his WSB debut.
Season revelation Ivan Golub of Ukraine Otamans will then pit his wits against Kazakhstan’s Israeli hardman Konstantin Snigur at Middleweight (68-73kg). The Ukrainian 24-year-old southpaw has really impressed in his previous two outings in the competition, showcasing a sumptuous array of skills mixed with sublime power. Snigur is an intelligent boxer with bags of ability, so all the ingredients are there for a top quality fight.
Golub declared, “Our team are ready and confident after our good showing last week. Snigur is a tough customer so I will be studying all his material in order to be well prepared. We know that every point counts from now on so we are eager to get on with this match”.
London Olympian Rouzbahani narrowly lost on his WSB debut in week one, with two judges scoring the bout a draw, so will be focused on getting a big win in his Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) showdown with 24-year-old Ukrainian Sergiy Lapin in the fourth bout of the evening. Rouzbahani has the temperament and power to make it big and will be keen to repay the faith shown in him by his employers against an opponent that has yet to win in two seasons in this competition.
The Heavyweight (91+kg) battle will then see 27-year-old Myrsatayev test his skills versus the Otamans’ Anatolii Antoniuk. 2012 WSB Individual Championships finalist Myrsatayev looked in inspired form in his last outing and his team will be hoping for a repeat performance from their leader. The Ukrainian boxer is another who has yet to record a win in the league but with a good height advantage he could spring a surprise on the night.
The tough Kazak told WSB, “I cannot wait to step into the ring to face Antoniuk. I am relishing being able to test myself against him”. On his team, he added, “There is great camaraderie within our group and I think that this has been key to our early season success. Plus this season we know our opponents earlier so we are much better prepared”.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan will take a major step towards qualification to the play-offs if they secure victory here. The Otamans face an uphill struggle against their powerful hosts.