After finding themselves within one win of a guaranteed second place finish in World Series of Boxing (WSB) Group A, a full-strength Mexico Guerreros team will be seeking nothing less than victory when they host Azerbaijan Baku Fires at fortress Foro Polanco this Friday 22 February (21:00 local time). With classy Elias Emigio, unbeaten Marvin Cabrera and hard-hitting Isaac Munoz-Gutierrez in their ranks, the hosts have the firepower to inflict a first defeat of the season on the formidable Azeri team.
Lightning-quick Bantamweight (50-54kg) Emigdio will get the show underway when the 21-year-old orthodox fighter faces the Fires’ tough Uzbek Orzubek Shayimov. The Mexican, who boasts a 12-2 career WSB record, is the overwhelming favourite for this one. Technically superior and boxing on home turf, Emigdio should have too much about him with the classy operator already sitting top of the individual ranking.
Mexican teenager Fernando Alvarez Diaz has impressed in his three appearances so far in his debut campaign, notching up two wins in the process with his only loss coming away against 2007 AIBA World Champion Albert Selimov. The 19-year-old will have a big opportunity of extending that record when he locks horns with Azeri southpaw Isa Isayev at Lightweight (57-61kg). Isayev has struggled with the pace of WSB in his two defeats.
Still undefeated this season, Cabrera goes into his Middleweight (68-73kg) contest with experienced Belarusian Mahamed Nurudzinau brimming with confidence. The young Mexican southpaw has won all of his three contests this season and could move up to first in the individual rankings with a victory here. The Fires’ Nurudzinau, 32, is vastly experienced and with a 6-2 WSB record so should not be taken lightly. Cabrera will have a big height advantage in this one and his speed could also play a big part.
Fast and furious puncher Munoz Gutierrez goes into his Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) bout as favourite with his long reach and quality shot-making skills set to make the difference against savvy Georgian Iago Kiziria. The 20-year-old has been impressive but faces his toughest test yet when he locks horns with Kiziria, a brawler who has yet to taste defeat in WSB.
It promises to be a highly explosive bout at Heavyweight (91+kg) between the Guerreros’ larger than life Puerto Rican Gerardo Miguel Bisabal Melero and up-and-coming Azeri orthodox Uzeypat Ismailov in the final contest of the night. Sparks will fly between these big guys. Will it go the distance? With the power these two pack, the odds are that it will not.
This should be an extremely close match between two intelligent and well-trained teams. Azerbaijan are already guaranteed Group A top spot so there is more at stake for Mexico, however the Fires are notorious for wanting to win every single fight so the fans are sure to be treated to five contests of the highest order.