A packed arena at the Sukharev Sport Complex in Perm were treated to a real boxing fest as Russia recorded an all-important World Series of Boxing (WSB) in Group A against Mexico Guerreros, putting them back into contention for quarter-final qualification places with the team still having two matches to go in the regular season schedule. AIBA World Champion and Olympic Games bronze medallist Misha Aloian, skilful Maxim Gazizov and the uncompromising Eduard Yakushev were the stars of the night.
It was a master class by reigning AIBA World Champion Aloian in his first WSB appearance as the devastatingly precise 24-year-old Bantamweight (50-54kg) outboxed Mexican southpaw Aaron Alameda Lopez in the first contest of the night. The intelligent Russian showcased his full repertoire of shots, mixing speed and a quality selection of shots to overawe his opponent right from the off. The Mexican teenager acquitted himself well but Aloian was simply too good as the latest Russian recruit gave his team the early lead in the match.
Tall 25-year-old orthodox Russian Eduard Khusainov showed a good tactical mind against the accomplished Belarusian Lightweight (57-61kg)Vazgen Safaryants, dominating two of the first three rounds with some good combinations and some deft hooks hurting his rival. Safaryants worked hard to try and get within range but the Russian was boxing well on the counter, finding his target time and time again as he edged further ahead by claiming the fourth. Khusainov then comfortably saw out the final round to put Russia 2:0 on the night.
The impressive Gazizov looked hungry for victory right from the onset against 20-year-old Mexican Juan Antonio Mercado with the experienced Middleweight (68-73kg) Russian showing tremendous speed and accuracy to claim the first two rounds. Mercado put in a gritty performance, going toe-to-toe with his opponent but the excellent footwork and swift combinations of the Russian were a joy to watch as he continued to dominate. In the end, it was an expertly taken win by the 29-year-old Gazizov who held the Russian flag aloft after ensuring his team claimed the overall victory.
It began at a frenetic pace in the Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) between Russia’s 24-year-old orthodox Yakushev and the Guerreros’ tall Albanian southpawChristian Demaj. The home boxer’s speed and power impressed as he dominated each of the five rounds to make a second successive win this season, extending his WSB record to 5-2.
It was an interesting contest between the two big Heavyweights (91+kg) in the last contest as Russia’s giant southpaw Sergey Kalchugin went head-to-head with Mexico’s no-holds barred Serbian Milutin Stankovic. It was a highly tactical fight but the Russian made that height difference count, standing strong with the jab and boxing well on the counter to record his second win of the season and make it a resounding victory for Russia.
Russia now need victory against Poland on the Friday 8 March and one again the night after versus Argentina if they hope to qualify for the knockout phases.