The last match of this World Series of Boxing (WSB) weekend saw Azerbaijan Baku Fires battle Argentina Condors at the Club Social Y Deportivo in Santa Clara del Mar and come back from a two-fight deficit to record an important victory that placed them top of Group A. Khaybula Musalov, Vladimir Cheles and Haji Murtuztaliyev made the difference on the night, giving their team that all-important win away from home.
It was the Bantamweight (50-54kg) boxers who took to the ring first with Argentinean star Alberto Melian locking horns with the Fires’ orthodox Uzbek Orzubek Shayimov. The Argentine 23-year-old southpaw had too much about him as he dominated each of the five rounds on his way to a sumptuous victory that gave his team that vital early lead in the tie.
Condors teenager Ronan Sanchez then excelled on his WSB debut as he dominated Azerbaijan’s 22-year-old southpaw Isa Isayev in their Lightweight (57-61kg) contest. The Azeri fighter was the better of the two fighters in the first two rounds, using his jab well to dictate proceedings early on. Sanchez however upped his game from the third onwards, dictating the exchanges from the centre of the ring as he battled back in style to take the bout after an expertly taken final round.
At Middleweight (68-73kg), Azerbaijan’s 2012 Individual Championships finalist Musalov was then pitted against 21-year-old Puerto Rican Henrri Polanco Ferreras to once again demonstrate his quality skills against an opponent yet to settle in WSB. The 22-year-old orthodox Azeri was too good, too quick and too clever, powering through each round to win comfortably. Musalov confirming, in the process, his status as one of the division’s top boxers, after reducing the deficit for his team in the match.
The penultimate bout of the night saw Argentine Facundo Simal, who boasted an 11-0 record in the pro ranks, fight the Fires’ 24-year-old Moldovan southpaw Cheles. The 26-year-old struggled against the speed of Cheles from the onset with the Moldovan clinical in every department, showing more endeavour and aggressiveness to take control of the bout. Cheles put in a top-drawer performance, powering to a convincing win to get Azerbaijan back on level terms.
Bringing the show to a close, the Heavyweight (91+kg) clash between the Condors’ tall 20-year-old Luis Bravo and experienced Azeri southpaw Murtuzaliyev was, as predicted, an explosive encounter. It was a real battle of wills for three rounds with the two going toe-to-toe for supremacy. Murtuzaliyev was inspired on the night, peppering his rival with some vicious punches in the fourth with Bisbal unable to respond. The Azeri giving his team the win after winning by TKO with his big right hook doing the damage in the fourth.
Argentina now host Algeria Desert Hawks at the Olympic Sports Center ‘Serhedchi’ on Saturday 2 February whilst Argentina’s visit to Poland has yet to be finalised.