Spotlight on the Azerbaijan Baku Fires
With Season IV (#WSBIV) kicking off in exactly a week’s time we profile another of last year’s standout teams. The Azerbaijan Baku Fires.
The Azerbaijan Baku Fires, backed by Gilan Holding, is one of the most consistent teams in the WSB competition having been a part of it since the very first season. Even though the two first seasons were demanding for the WSB’s “Bad boys”, they never gave up and by Season III they had developed into one of the strongest teams of the competition, only tasting defeat in week nine when they were on the wrong end of an unexpected 5-0 drubbing by Mexico Guerreros. They were beaten again (6-4) in the quarter-finals by eventual runners-up Ukraine Otamans.
Maybe it is due to their hot Caucasian blood that Baku Fires matches are always magnetic viewing and full of speed and passion. After the Official Draw they let it be very clearly known that they are relishing the prospect being part of the same “group of death” as the Cuba Domadores, defending champions Astana Arlans and the dangerous Mexico Guerreros team. Added to that the prospect of facing an enigmatic Team Russia and a gritty Hussars Poland, you would think there would be sighs of dispair coming from the Baku, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Fires are always up for a battle and they seem at their happiest when fighting the best opponent’s out there, (which presumably leaves them close to being euphoric given the calibre they will be facing this season).
The Head Coach
The Azeri Team is known to be one of the most stable within the competition and the head coach for Season IV is still boxing genius Nuripasha Talibov who has been with the team since its first outing. Talibov started his career as coach at the age of just 23 and is now vastly experienced, having been the National Russian Boxing team coach for several years. Notable additions to his CV include the fact that he was a personal coach of both Arthur Beterbiyev (AIBA World Champion Milan 2009) and Albert Selimov (AIBA World Champion Chicago 2007).
The biggest surprise for Azerbaijan Baku Fires fans will be a great new venue for the team’s home matches, namely: The Guba Olympic Complex. Built in one of the most picturesque and unique regions of Azerbaijan, the Olympic Complex is located in close proximity to the Baku region.
The closed 200-seater venue of the Guba Olympic Complex has one of the biggest swimming pools of the country with space for 1500 swimmers. The venue has hosted events in such games as futsal, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and gymnastics and now it will become one of the home venues to the fastest emerging Boxing League in the Universe – the World Series of Boxing!
We speak to Baku Fires veteran Ramazan Magomedou on how his team are preparing for this season’s competition.
Ramazan, tell us a bit about what your squad will look like in the Season IV?
We have some young and talented newcomers in our team. In fact the team has almost doubled in size, there are many guys from the National Team, juniors, including finalists from a number of prestigious competitions, and even World Champions. who joined Baku Fires for this season. They are all great, but obviously now they will have to prove it in the WSB ring. As for our old squad, all the veterans from last season are staying with us, including our big stars Selimov and 2013 AIBA Super Heavyweight (91kg+) World Champion Medzhidov.
And what is the atmosphere in the team just days away from the Season’s Launch?
We have already had two training camps and now we have come together to get ready for the first and the second matches for our team. I would say we are in a rather combative mood. Probably because we have been missing the WSB all this time!
There will be some innovations as of this season in the WSB, notably with 10 weight categories instead of 5. What do you think of that?
It will not change anything for the majority of boxers as we will continue competing in our usual AOB categories. This is how it should be.
What are the lessons that your team learned in the Season III?
It is hard to say, we were boxing hard throughout all these three past Seasons, but somehow we were incredibly unlucky each time we had away matches. The same happened last Season when we were already so close to the Finals. Only one bout away… I hope this will change. We all believe it should get better if not we would not be so eager to box for the fourth season in a row!
What are this Season’s objectives for your team?
We will do our best to become Champions this time. We don’t give up easily. And I strongly believe we will get there in the end.
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