Amazingly focused and strong throughout the entire night at the Almaty Towers Business Center, Astana Arlans Kazakhstan has had absolutely no worry against the Mexico Guerreros. Considered since the beginning of this World Series of Boxing (WSB) season as one of the favourites for the title, the Kazakhs have won eight of the ten bouts of this semi-final. Their Team Finals against the Ukraine Otamans promise to be an extraordinary spectacle.
Arlans No.1 Bantamweight (50-54kg) Bagdad Alimbekov had the tough task to open the curtains as the clear favourite against 19-year-old Mexican Aaron Alameda, who had only won a contest in Season III. Despite some similarities in the styles of the two southpaws, it turned out to be an easy one for Alimbekov whose strong punches had badly hurt Alameda in the first two rounds. The Kazakh’s dangerous left jabs ended the job and offered a precious 1-0 to the Arlans.
Whilst Kazakhstan Lightweight (57-61kg) Samat Bashenov had won all of his fights this season, Belarusian Vazgen Safaryants had done the exact opposite. Bashenov started pretty well, trying to use his longer arms as much as he could to find the best possible attacking positions. As of the third round, Safaryants added some speed to his precise combinations and forced the Kazakh to adapt his style and put all his strength in the fight to keep the lead and offer a second victory to his team. That was for sure the closest bout of the night, the turning point.
Coming back in the spotlight just a few weeks after his first ever WSB defeat, Middleweight (68-73kg) supremo Sergiy Derevyanchenko was motivated enough to face Mexico Guerreros’ Irish rising star Conrad Cummings. As expected, the Arlan tried to keep his opponent under pressure from the first to the last second of the bout. Cummings, whose footwork is excellent, stood as a very competitive rival but Derevyanchenko’s experience was enough to control the rhythm. This third victory in the night was officially offering Astana Arlans Kazakhstan its qualification for the WSB Team Finals, no matter which results would come from the last two fights.
Next up at Light Heavyweight (80-85kg), Iran’s best boxer Ehsan Rouzbahani left no hope to Mexico Guerreros Bojan Miskovic after a number of powerful combinations forced the referee to stop the contest before the end of the first round. Rouzbahani was declared the winner – by TKO – for the quickest of his four successes in a row.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s team captain and Best Asian WSB Boxer of 2012, Heavyweight (91+kg) Ruslan Myrsatayev was then offered the opportunity to finish the work with style. Confronted with Milutin Stankovic, the 28-year-old Kazakh controlled this last contest from the very first seconds. In the end Myrsatayev was just too strong for the Serbian who conceded his fourth defeat this season.
Reaching their second WSB Team Finals in three seasons, the Arlans will face Ukraine on the 10th and 11th of May 2013 at the Saryarka Velodrome. After 11 matches (out of 14) and 49 bouts (out of 70) won this season, the Kazakhs will be looking at confirming their status of favourites. But with a team made of amazing boxers such as Denys Berinchyk, Vasyl Lomachenko, Dmytro Mytrofanov, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Oleksandr Usyk, the Otamans are not yet ready to say their last word.