The World Series of Boxing (WSB) today held their Season IV Official Draw in Lausanne, Switzerland. Presided over by WSB Board Chairman Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, assisted by Mrs Irena Szewinska, IOC Member from Poland and Mr Reynaldo Gonzalez Lopez, IOC Member from Cuba, the draw has offered some pretty exciting matches.
Boxing fans around the world got the match they were hoping for as defending Champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan were drawn against WSB’s newest Franchise Domadores Cuba Boxing Team. With its long prestigious history in the sport, many have tipped the Cubans to go far this year, and excitement is starting to build around the clash between these two global powerhouse teams.
But both Franchises will have to keep their wits about them as the draw placed them in an extremely difficult group. In addition to Cuba and Kazakhstan, Group B also contains Season III semi-finalists Mexico Guerreros, itself of course a country with a notable boxing heritage, along with Season III quarter-finalists Azerbaijan Baku Fires and Hussars Poland. Surprisingly, perhaps, given the quality of those teams, much of the hushed talk among the Team Managers present was about the final member of the group, Russia.
The Russian team utterly dominated this year’s European Championships and as one team manager told us, “Much depends on the Russian Team that is selected. If they select the Sborna (national side), every team will need to watch out, they could cause a shock upset”.
For Baku Fires meanwhile, it seems as though the team got its wish, with Managing Director Rizvan Genzhiyev saying last week that he hoped they would “draw the strongest teams” in the Regular Season.
On the other side of the draw there was relief for Argentina Condor’s General Manager Hernán Salvo who said he was “Pleased at not having to face Cuba”. When asked about his group he went on to add; “you have to respect the Vice-champions (Season III Finalists) Ukraine Otamans and in my view, Dolce and Gabbana Italia Thunder (Season III’s other semi-finalist team and Season II Champion), because they are always a strong side. But, and by large, this is a better draw than we could have hoped for”.
The USA Knockouts also joined Group A. The last members of the group were the German Eagles and the Algeria Desert Hawks. By contrast with Group B, Group A looks completely open with the four qualification places to the quarter-finals looking potentially achievable by any of the teams.
“Today was a very important day for the World Series of Boxing since it has revealed the most anticipated groups of Season IV and the competition calendar”, stated Dr Wu. “Seeing the level of the 12 Franchises that will take part, I am expecting an exciting and very competitive season. I wish the very best to all Franchises and thank all boxing friends for their support”.
The Draw was streamed on the WSB YouTube channel and also covered live by several blogs and news sites including Boxing News, the UK’s oldest and most prestigious magazine, and Cyberzone boxing who provided a stream of the Official Draw on their websites.
Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder
Algeria Desert Hawks
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan Baku Fires
Potential Tiebreakers in the PlayOffs
Quarter-final 1: Flyweight (52kg)
Quarter-final 2: Super Heavyweight (91+kg)
Quarter-final 3: Light Heavyweight (81kg)
Quarter-final 4: Super Heavyweight (91+kg)
Semi-final 1: Light Heavyweight (81kg)
Semi-final 2: Heavyweight (91kg)
Finals: Welterweight (69kg)