With quarter-final qualification from World Series of Boxing (WSB) Group A still not mathematically guaranteed for Hussars Poland, they await the visit of Azerbijan Baku Fires this Sunday 3 March (19:00 local time) in their penultimate fixture of the regular season. One victory would ensure their passage into the knockout phase, so the Poles will be banking on the guile of Adil Aslanov and the power of Mateusz Malujda to counter the threat posed by an impressive Azeri outfit.
Polish teenager Sylwester Kozlowski will be relishing the opportunity of turning out for his team for the very first on home soil with the orthodox fighter set to clash with intelligent operator and European Championships silver medallist Elvin Mamishzada. Kozlowski will be relying on his height and reach advantage in the opening contest of the night but it promises to be anything but straightforward in this Bantamweight (50-54kg) battle.
With two successive victories under his belt, Aslanov goes into the Lightweight (57-61kg) showdown against Azerbaijan’s 22-year-old southpaw Magomedali Ukayev as favourite. The rangy 21-year-old Pole has impressed with his grittiness and stamina. Ukayev was unlucky in defeat last time out so will have a big point to prove. It should make for an entertaining fight.
20-year-old southpaw Ireneusz Zakrzewski from Poland will need to come up with something special at Middleweight (68-73kg) if he is to trouble the Fires’ unbeaten Belarusian sensation Mikalai Vesialou. The away boxer, who boasts a perfect 5-0 WSB record, has been in fine form this campaign and is odds on favourite to extend that winning streak.
At Light Heavyweight (80-85kg), another Hussars boxer will have to find a higher level of boxing with Polish 25-year-old Michal Gerlecki pitted against reigning WSB World Champion Ramazan Magomedau. The Azeri fighter, once of the most tactically astute boxers in the whole competition, with his 12-0 record, should have too much about him in this bout.
It will very interesting to see who comes out on top in the Heavyweight (91+kg) contest between uncompromising Malujda and tall Azeri Abdulkadir Abdullayev. The Pole is a real brawler who likes to get up close and personal with his rivals so to counter that Abdullayev will have to be smart and box at distance. One thing is for sure, it will be an explosive encounter.
Poland need the points but Azerbaijan will be hurting from their first defeat of the season last time around so will have only one thing on their mind, victory.