Spotlight on Ukraine Otamans

During a glorious debut season the Ukraine Otamans immediately become favourites last year. Cruising straight to the Finals, the boxers in the team became National heroes on their home soil. In this short article we take a look at the Otamans, as part of our team by team analysis leading up to the Season IV launch.

The Background
Backed by the Ukrainian Boxing Federation, the Ukraine Otamans lined-up the country’s best boxers in the Season III to compete in the WSB. With all the talk around the Cuba Domadores and Astana Arlans going into this year’s competition, you would be foolish to forget just how close the Ukrainians pushed the Arlans team in last season’s finals. That last match in Astana was the most exciting and closely fought in the WSB history.

This year as the widely recognised favourites in Group A, the Otamans have a serious chance, not just of getting through to the Play-Offs, but of winning their group outright. Moreover, this year they have the back-up of experienced Ukrainian coach Valentyn Sobolyevskyy.

The new team coach has plenty of experience. He has previously worked as the Head Coach of the Ukrainian national boxing team, Lead Coach for the Ukrainian Ministry of Youth and Sports, he was a consultant-coach in Iran, and also worked as the Head Coach of the Turkish national boxing team for four years (2006 – 2010). The Turkish Boxing Federation has stated that this period was the most successful in its history. The Otamans will be hoping this success continues so that they may equal or surpass their performance last year.

The Venue
The Otamans’ first home match of Season IV will be held in the 7,000-seater Palace of Sports in the heart of Kiev. Thereafter the Ukrainian team is planning to stage the rest of its matches in a modern entertainment centre known as the “Terminal” in Brovary (a city situated close to Kiev). This venue is a synonym for joy, entertainment and fun in the minds of Ukrainians and hopefully the Otamans will use this spirit as a spring-board to help boost the WSB’s popularity even further.

The Interview
The Ukrainian Team will enter their second WSB season fully armed. With boxers such as AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Mykola Butsenko the team looks as dangerous as ever. We asked him for a behind the scenes glimpse at the team this year.

What should we expect from the Otamans this season?
We have got a new look squad for this season and there will be new guys competing who are trying to fill the boots of Lomachenko and Usyk. They are exceptionally motivated and are willing to step up to the challenge. They are putting in a huge amount of effort in their desire to help us reach or surpass our level from last year and I believe they will succeed.

Besides new faces in your squad there are some innovations within the WSB this year, for instance what do you think of the five new weight categories that have been introduced?
When we first found out about the introduction of five more weight categories we were initially quite surprised as we thought that there would be ten bouts instead of five at every match! Then it was explained that it will not impact the format of the match [which remains five bouts an evening] and we will just be divided into two groups by our weight categories for home and away matches. So now we think it will be even better than before because the schedule will not be as intense and we will have less fights within the season which leaves more time for recovery.

What is the atmosphere in the team like with just a few weeks to go until the Season’s Launch?
As I said now we are getting ready for the matches by groups. Thus, the first group moved to the Camp to get ready for our challenge with the USA knockouts in Kiev on November 16th. After that we will shift around and the group of boxers who will face Germany will move into the training camp. Overall though, everybody is highly motivated and looking forward to new challenges. The atmosphere is great.

What are the lessons that your team learned in Season III?
It was the first season in the WSB for our team and we did really well and reached the finals on our first try! Now our coaches have the tough task to make sure that our boxers perform impeccably again. We should strive to perform without a hitch this year.

What are the objectives for your team this season?
We have got one main goal set by our President Mr. Prodyvus…that we should become Champions this time. And we are all ready to achieve this goal.

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