The Acco International Exhibition Center in Kiev will be treated to a true boxing spectacle this Friday 1 February (20:00 local time) when Ukraine Otamans host the German Eagles in this mouth-watering World Series of Boxing (WSB) Group B clash. World and Olympic Champion Oleksandr Usyk will be the star attraction on the night alongside Olympic silver medallist Denys Berinchyk. Dmytro Mytrofanov, who has so far excelled this season, will also get another chance to showcase his immense talent when he takes to the ring in the third bout of the match.
Diminutive Ukrainian Bantamweight (50-54kg) Ivan Ilnytskyy will go in search of his first career WSB victory in the evening’s opening contest when he locks horns with 20-year-old Dane Mohamad Ismail Sadik. Ilnytskyy always shows great heart and there is never any faulting his endeavour but his small frame puts him at quite some disadvantage against taller opponents, so he will come into his fight versus the Eagles’ newcomer as the slight underdog.
There will be huge anticipation around the Lightweight (57-61kg) encounter with World and Olympic silver medallist Berinchyk making his WSB debut against German orthodox Artur Schmidt. The 24-year-old Ukrainian is a no-nonsense fighter who relishes a battle at close quarters and delivers some of the most punishing hits around. His explosive style will sure to give the fans a great show. Schmidt is returning to the WSB ranks after a season away from the competition and the 27-year-old is guaranteed to find himself in one the toughest fights of his career.
Berinchyk told us, “We want to win, nothing less will do at this stage of the season. The training has been great and we are feeling extremely confident about a victory against Germany”.
Germany’s Schmidt was also looking forward to the bout, stating, “I am delighted to be back in WSB, it is a quality competition. I enjoy switching stance a lot and I will use that to unsettle my opponent. I boxed and won the WSB Team Trophy with Paris United in season one which was a fantastic experience, but being able to box for my country is an even greater honour. I cannot wait to face Berinchyk”.
The impressive Mytrofanov, who pushed Middleweight (68-73kg) king Sergiy Derevyanchenko all the way before inflicting a first career WSB defeat on William McLaughlin in his previous two appearances this season, will then be pitted against the Eagles’ Moldovan southpaw Vasilii Belous. The Ukrainian will now want to continue his winning streak, but he will have to box clever against an experienced and taller opponent.
After losing by split decision the last time out, the Otamans’ 27-year-old Denys Poyatsyka will be seeking to get back to winning ways when he faces Xhek Paskali, who has just moved up to Light Heavyweight (80-85kg), in the penultimate contest of the night. Poyatsyka was disappointed to lose to Imre Szello in his previous appearance in the competition and will be looking to make home advantage count here. His 22-year-old German rival should struggle against his height and power.
Paskali was bullish about his chances, saying, “I have studied a lot of footage of Poyatsyka in order to get maximum preparation. The structure of my training puts me in a very positive frame of mind for this fight. The Otamans are very strong but we are confident of springing a surprise or two”.
The big focus of the match will of course be on the Heavyweight (91+kg) showdown between Otamans superstar Usyk and 22-year-old German orthodox Eric Brechlin. The overwhelming favourite for this one is the Ukrainian southpaw, who mixes sublime technique with devastating power. Brechlin will have to find something really special to have any chance of claiming victory.
When quizzed about his thoughts on the match, Usyk declared, “As a team, we are slowly finding our feet in the competition but we are confident that as a unit we can overcome the challenge of the Germans. I have been working hard in the gym and want to build on my previous victory against Fa. I have been studying Brechlin’s fights online in order to be as prepared as possible. Once thing is for sure, I am in good spirits and will put on a show for the fans”.
With such an array of talent in their ranks, the Ukraine Otamans should move a step closer to qualification for the knockout stages whereas Germany needs the win to stay within touching of fourth place in the Group.