It was packed at the Terminal in Brovary as Ukraine Otamans defeated Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder with panache in their Group B encounter. Double Olympic Champion Vasyl Lomachenko, hardman Ivan Golub and London 2012 bronze medallist Oleksandr Gvozdyk were all unstoppable on a quality night of boxing in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
The action got underway with the Bantamweight (50-54kg) showdown between the untested 21-year-old Ukrainian Mykola Butsenko and Italian pro boxer Daniele Limone. Despite getting a bloody nose in the first, the Otamans southpaw managed to edge the round after connecting with some good one-twos. Butsenko’s speed and agility were causing his rival some trouble as he landed some precise shots to take the second. A nasty clash of heads in the third had Butsenko in a bit of trouble however he recovered well to dominate that round too. The Ukrainian debutant grew in confidence as the fight wore on and his precision and intelligent shot selection saw him stamp his authority on the remaining rounds as he recorded an impressive victory for himself.
All eyes then turned to the mouth-watering Lightweight (57-61kg) match-up between pound for pound king Lomachenko and the Thunder’s explosive Filipino Charly Suarez. The phenomenal Ukrainian southpaw probed well in the first, getting a feel for his opponent, moving well and landing some good body shots to take the round. Suarez was standing tall but even he struggled to contain the avalanche of punches being thrown at him by the two-time Olympic Champion. The pressure exerted by Lomachenko told in the third when a flurry of body shots saw Suarez floored. The 24-year-old from the Philippines got back up and composed himself to survive the fourth but Lomachenko’s work rate and the sheer volume of punches he was throwing were simply sublime. Lomachenko was simply irresistible as he ensured a flawless victory by taking the fifth in style.
In the battle of the Middleweight (68-73kg) southpaws, the fans in the packed arena were treated to a quality fight between the unbeaten Golub and the Thunder’s electric Frenchman Michel Tavares. As predicted, there was almost nothing to choose between the two as they took turns being the aggressor. It quickly became a highly tactical battle. The two went toe-to-toe with Golub the aggressor and Tavares trying to pick him on the counter. It was a great contest to watch between two accomplished fighters but Golub connected with some telling straights in the fourth to take a commanding lead going into the final round. The Ukrainian was cut and bloodied by the end but he ensured a fourth win of the season with some big shots to move top of the individual rankings and confirm his status as one of this early season’s outstanding performers.
London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Gvozdyk then showed his class in his Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) bout with the Thunder’s experienced Lithuanian Vitaljius Subacius, throwing some hard jabs followed by some swift combinations to impose himself in the early exchanges. Gvozdyk seems to get better and better with each performance and he put in an absolute clinic here, picking his rival apart with some exquisite punches. The fourth round was simply outstanding as the Ukrainian orthodox boxer rocked Subacius with some punishing hooks and some deft three-four punch combinations. Gvozdyk turned on the style in the fifth to make a comprehensive victory for himself.
It was an intriguing battle between 21-year-old Ukrainian Rostyslav Arkhypenko and man-mountain Matteo Modugno in the final bout of the night at Heavyweight (+91kg). The Italian had weighed-in a good 17kg heavier than his opponent and the difference in size told as Modugno, the Italian pro champion, dominated the exchanges, drawing in his rival to fight at close quarters. Arkhypenko valiantly fought on against the imposing Italian but could not find the tactic to gain the upper hand. Modugno boxed clever to win and reduce the deficit for his team. The night however belonged to the Otamans.
Ukraine now travel to the USA to face the Knockouts at the Yost Theater omn Thursday 21 February (19:00 local time) with Italy at home to Group B leaders Astana Arlans Kazakhstan on Saturday 23 February (21:00 local time).