Boxing News Reporter John Dennen gives us his views on what we can expect from the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in Season IV in this guest post.
It is our pleasure to welcome Boxing Journalist John Dennen in this guest blog post. John works with Boxing News, which was first published in London in 1909 and is still going strong today. John kindly offered us this independent analysis of the forthcoming season following the Official draw.
The World Series draw pits a boxing great against a rising power
The next season of the World Series of Boxing unveils what is essentially a Cuban pro-style boxing team. They’ll be boxing in contests consisting of five three minute rounds, scored under AIBA’s 10 points must system that is becoming standard across all AIBA Competition Programs: AIBA Open Boxing (AOB), World Series of Boxing (WSB) and AIBA Pro Boxing (APB).
Cuba of course has long been one of the dominant forces in amateur boxing and at London 2012 their gold medallists, like Roniel Iglesias, served notice that they still have special talents. Iglesias and some of their other top names are expected to take part in an exhibition match against the Mexico Guerreros. Lazaro Alvarez, a World Champion and Olympic medallist, could make his WSB debut, as well as Olympic and World medallist Yasniel Toledo, Carlos Banteur, and the brilliant team captain Julio Cesar La Cruz. Erislandy Savon has moved down to 91kgs, while Jose Larduet looks set to be their Super Heavyweight (91+kg).
The Cubans have to adapt to the new scoring system that will be in place for the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 and the next Olympic Games. The WSB is a means to do that and to qualify athletes for the 2016 Games. Boxing remains what it is, the art of hitting without being hit but styles are still likely to change. It will be fascinating to see how the Cubans adapt.
The Cuba Domadores, as the franchise will be known, is in the deep end for its first season in the WSB. They’re in the same group as season three champions, the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, as well as the Azerbaijan Baku Fires, both of whom have strong squads and possess experience in this format. Throw into the mix a Russian team, who potentially could draw on some quality operators, as well as the Mexicans and the action in this group should be fierce.
In the other group, the Ukrainian and Italian teams will surely be the frontrunners. The Ukraine Otamans appeared for the first time in the WSB last season and were only denied the overall title by Kazakhstan at home. Then they had national heroes, Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk (with three Olympic gold medals between them) establishing the side at home in the Ukraine and picking up valuable wins for them on the road.
A welcome development for the forthcoming season will be changing the divisions to bring them in-line with the 10 weight categories we have in AOB and APB, rather than the five catch-weights that have featured in previous seasons.