With it so tight in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Group B, this weekend will have a major influence on the final positions for four teams with three fixtures to go until the end of the regular season. Friday 8 February (20:00 local time) sees Ukraine Otamans reserve a hot reception at the Terminal in Brovary for the visiting Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder team. The home team have looked unstoppable since the winter-break and a full-strength line-up that includes double Olympic Champion Vasyl Lomachenko and London 2012 bronze medallist Oleksandr Gvozdyk awaits Italia.
At Bantamweight (50-54kg), the untested 21-year-old Ukrainian Mykola Butsenko will be pitted against Italian pro boxer Daniele Limone. The Otamans debutant will be giving a lot of reach away versus an experienced opponent who boast a 10-1 record in the pro ranks. 28-year-old orthodox Limone has unfortunately lost twice in WSB already this season but has shown flashes of brilliance so goes into the fight as slight favourite.
With an exquisite first career WSB outing in week five when he won with such panache, pound for pound king Lomachenko returns to the ring to face the Thunder’s explosive Filipino Charly Suarez at Lightweight (57-61kg). The phenomenon that is Lomachenko should have too much for the 24-year-old from the Philippines with the southpaw simply too good. Suarez has always shown great heart and will play his part in a riveting contest.
On paper, the showdown between unbeaten Otamans hardman Ivan Golub and electric French southpaw Michel Tavares should be extremely tight with these two very evenly matched. It will be a clash of styles being two of the best boxers in the Middleweight (68-73kg) category. 24-year-old Golub, also a southpaw, has taken the competition by storm, producing three fine performances which resulted in three wins, so he will be gunning for another victory against the experienced Frenchman. Tavares has proven his pedigree over the past three seasons but has not had it all his way this campaign so will want to prove his is still up there with the best.
Undefeated Gvozdyk has established himself as his country’s leading Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) after a string of quality performances saw him star at the London 2012 Olympic Games. On Friday, he will get another opportunity to display his sublime repertoire of skills when he battles the Thunder’s experienced Lithuanian Vitaljius Subacius in the penultimate bout of the night. These two are big and gifted fighters so it promises to really put the fans on the edge of their seats.
21-year-old Ukrainian Rostyslav Arkhypenko then faces Italian man-mountain Matteo Modugno at Heavyweight (+91kg). Modugno is the Italian pro champion and after mounting a stunning comeback to record a hard-fought victory in his last outing, he will be high on confidence coming into this bout. Arkhypenko will be giving quite a lot of height away but after facing two of the top boxers in the division, Modugno will hold no fear for him.