With victory vital to stay in touch with the World Series of Boxing (WSB) quarter-final qualification places, Russia, which still has three matches left to their regular season, await Mexico Guerreros this Friday 1 March (20:30 local time) in a Group A fixture that will surely define their fate in this campaign. Leading a strong cast of boxers for the hosts will be the sensational AIBA World Champion and Olympic Games bronze medallist Misha Aloian, and with the support of the skilful Maxim Gazizov and uncompromising Eduard Yakushev, Russia have the ammunition to claim victory at Sukharev Sport Complex in Perm.
The devastatingly precise 24-year-old Bantamweight (50-54kg) Aloianwill be making his long-anticipated WSB debut in the first contest of the night with the fleet-footed orthodox fighter scheduled to battle Mexican southpaw Aaron Alameda Lopez. The intelligent Russian is the outstanding favourite here with his experience and ring-savvy set to be too much for his teenaged opponent.
After recording a hard-fought victory in his maiden appearance for Russia in week eight, 25-year-old southpaw Eduard Khusainov will get another opportunity to impress when he locks horns with the accomplished Belarusian Lightweight (57-61kg) Vazgen Safaryants. This one should delight the fans with both being extremely positive fighters.
With an impressive season under his belt last campaign, Gazizov makes his return to the competition to face 20-year-old Mexican Juan Antonio Mercado. The experienced Russian, with a 4-2 WSB record that includes two defeats against the supremely talented Middleweight (68-73kg) Sergiy Derevyanchenko, is the overwhelming favourite for victory, with the Guerreros orthodox fighter still searching for that first WSB win.
At Light Heavyweight (80-85kg), Russia will have 24-year-old Yakushev ready to strut his stuff against the Guerreros’ tall Albanian southpaw Christian Demaj. The home boxer has speed and power in abundance and will be eager to impress in his first fight at home this season. Demaj acquitted himself well in week six so will prove a difficult man to beat.
Two big guys will then go head-to-head in the final bout of the night with the Heavyweight (91+kg) meeting between Russia’s giant southpaw Sergey Kalchugin and Mexico’s no-holds barred Serbian Milutin Stankovic set to engroce the fans in the arena. This should be an epic with two pure brawlers set to battle it out over five rounds. Will it go the distance? It is highly unlikely.
Russia need victory here and with Mexico already guaranteed to finish second in the Group, you would not bet against the home team getting all three points.