We get the reaction from the last two World Series of Boxing (WSB) Champions on the impact of the Season IV Official Draw: current holders Astana Arlans Kazakhstan and Season II winners Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder.
First up we spoke to the Arlans’ Sport Director Serik Kassymov. We had to start with the obvious fact that his team was placed in Group B; an incredible line-up up which Hussars Poland CEO Jarek Kolkowski among others has already started referring to as the “Group of Death”.
What do you think about your group?
It’s too strong compared with group A, but the better the teams the better we will have to be to go through.
Are you worried about or looking forward to fighting such strong teams?
No we are not worried, we are the champions (Laughs)! No seriously we are looking forward to the challenge.
We asked our fans on our facebook page what fight they most want to see. They almost universally said their dream match would be Kazakhstan vs Cuba, now it looks as though it is going to happen. What do you think about that?
Look, Cuba boxing is one of the best teams in the whole world so we are looking forward to that match just as much as the fans are. The only problem we have with our group is that we have to fly across the Atlantic Ocean twice during the Regular Season to face Mexico and Cuba. That will be tiring. But on the other hand they have to do the same to come to us I suppose (laughs), so we will just see how it all works out.
How do you feel the draw went?
The draw was fine, very professional. A funny thing was that we all picked our own seats in the draw but everyone who was eventually picked for Group B happened to be sitting next to each other! We must have tempted fate.
Meanwhile, Italia Thunder’s General Manager Claudio Ballor on the other hand was more upbeat about his team’s chances in Group A during the Regular Season, but he had concerns about the Play-offs.
How do you feel the draw went for your country?
Well, it’s perhaps an easier draw than in previous years from our point of view. I think the problems will probably start at the end of the Regular season.
It will be interesting to see who will fight who in the playoffs. Whoever finishes as winner of Group A will have to face the 4th placed team in Group B. But that could still be a very strong side…
Yes, a lot depends on Russia. If Russia sends in their strongest team they will be a force this year. If they chose to select a weaker team though…well we will just have to see. That would leave things more open.
Which team are you most looking forward to fight in your group?
Ukraine! We’ve been waiting for it. We are looking forward to seeing them again.
Do your team prefer to compete at home or away?
Well we are probably the best team in the WSB at home. We are still unbeaten at home, possibly the last team from Season 1 to be able to say that. Milan has been our home so far, but we are hoping to move around a little this year. Milan will still probably be our opening venue though.