There is plenty of action to follow at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013, with our WSB boxers displaying their top class boxing. After five days of the competition we take a look at the most impressive performances.
Serge Michel (German Eagles)
Light Heavyweight (81kg) Serge Michel of Germany went toe to toe with the tough Georgian boxer Lago Kiziria. Things did not go that smoothly for the Season III German Eagles boxer as he found himself engaged with one of those opponents that just won’t back down. By round three, both boxers knew that the bout was dangerously close and only a supreme effort would suffice. German supporters got extremely vocal in the arena as the clock ticked down. With a minute and a half to go, it had clearly become a war of attrition with both boxers almost burnt out. The German seemed marginally more aggressive but got caught a few times by the Georgian on the way in. It was enough to win the bout though, nonetheless the WSB veteran would have hoped for an easier first round than that. Starting with what is quickly becoming a German team slogan, Michel explained: “The first fight is always difficult and the opponent was also very good. He was very hard to box against. We are going to have to go through and take a look at what happened during that fight and eradicate the mistakes”.
Llyas Abbadi (Algeria Desert Hawks)
Welterweight (69 kg) Llyas Abbadi, was in action against a tough Chilean opponent Daniel Tapia. The southpaw, who fought for the Algeria Desert Hawks in Season III looked quick on his feet. He did most of his work in the first two rounds and coming into the third he got on his bike and stayed comfortably out of danger. Landing at will within the last minute, he was clearly the winner in the end despite a difficult start to the bout. Superior physical conditioning seems to have been the most crucial factor in him taking the win. “It was difficult out there but the important thing is that we won the fight”, said Abbadi. “I felt that by the third round we had already won the fight and it was important to shut the match down“.
Imre Szello (Dolce&Gabbana Italia Thunder)
Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder Imre Szellofrom Hungary looked good in his opening bout with Abdeljalil Abouhamada from Morocco at Heavyweight (91 kg). The Moroccan came on well towards the end of the first round, really finding his range and making use of his reach to land his jab. However you were always left with the suspicion that Szello had more to offer. The WSB star boxed with his hands quite low for much of the match and made use of his good slipping and leaning back skills to avoid damage. He began parrying well too and with his opponent’s game nullified, Szello began to land shots his own with much greater accuracy to take the victory.
Elvin Isayev (Azerbaijan Baku Fires)
Although Artem Harutyunyan may well have stolen this category as well had his selection been officially confirmed, but nonetheless an honourable mention is deserved by Azeri southpaw Elvin Isayev. He was totally dominant over Mohammad Amin from Bangladesh at Lightweight (60 kg). Though the Bangladeshi took to the centre of the ring gamely he was outclassed by the WSB boxer. By the time round three rolled around, the confident Azerbaijani was almost picking his shots at will. Nonetheless the Bangladeshi was clearly here to compete and deserves credit for hanging in there. It was not enough to prevent a completely overwhelming victory: (3:0) for the Isayev however.
Josh Taylor (British Lionhearts)
Elsewhere Scotland’s Josh Taylor who fought for the British Lionhearts in Season III looked in great shape at Light Welterweight against Akiel Outram of Trinidad and Tobago. The southpaw landed an absolute bomb of a right hook with his opponent against the ropes at the very end of round one and subsequently looked very comfortable indeed during the bout. He was able to land his entire repertoire and by the third he was stalking his opponent (who was very much in survival mode) round the ring. Taylor didn’t seem to lose any speed in his hands or feet as the bout went on and looks to be in very condition indeed. “I thought I boxed alright”, said the Scot in understated fashion. “The last round and a half I was happy just to stand there because there wasn’t much coming back at me. I think I could have done a little bit more but I potentially have another three or four fights so I’m happy with what I’ve done”.
Robert Harutyunyan (German Eagles)
The second Harutyunyan brother (Robert this time) stepped into the ring this evening against Croatian Matteo Komadina at Lightweight. This was more of a brawl than his brother Artem’s high paced affair earlier today. Nor did the WSB veteran star have it particularly easy against a well-schooled and confident Croatian opponent. As round two wore on however he began to turn the screw and he scored a good knockdown early in round three. The Croatian kept inviting the punch by boxing with his hands down, and though his evasion skills were good in the beginning, as he fatigued he began to get clipped. He was clearly exhausted by the end of the bout, owing to continual pressure from the German fighter. “I thank god that I got through the fight without any serious knocks, and the same for my brother”, said Harutyunyan. “My opponent wasn’t bad either. The important thing today really was that my brother and I got through our bouts without any problems. The first fight is always the most difficult with the travel and the jetlag, so I’m happy it’s over. I feel I’ll perform better in the next bout”.
Zaal Kvachatadze (LA Matadors)
Georgia’s Zaal Kvachatadze who boxed for the LA Matadors in Season II had an easy start to the tournament against Sri Lanka’s Tharindu Gedara at Welterweight. Initially feeling his opponent out, the Georgian began landing absolute bombs halfway through the first round and dropped the Sri Lankan with a body shot for a standing 8 count with 1:23 remaining. The Sri Lankan tried to return fire but it felt like it was only a matter of time before he was in trouble again. Sure enough he was dropped for a second time shortly after with an enormous left hook to the body. The referee had seen enough with five seconds remaining of the first round. Kvachatadze certainly looks like one of the standout competitors in the Welterweight category early on.