Intent on flexing their muscle right from the off, Astana Arlans Kazakhstan have travelled to the Ukraine to lock horns with the Otamans at the Acco International Exhibition Centre in Kiev in Group B with a near full-strength line-up.
The visitors have brought with them their star summer recruits, 2012 WSB Individual Champions, Middleweight (73kg) supreme talent Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Heavyweight (91+kg) colossus Filip Hrgovic. The fans will be relishing this one with Astana Arlans Kazakhstan looking like a mighty force this season.
The undefeated Derevyanchenko, who faces Dmytro Mytrofanov, was his usual cool self when asked about boxing back in his homeland, saying, “I might be Ukrainian but I see no issue whatsoever with fighting one of my compatriots, we do that all the time during the national championships. I know that I am guaranteed a hard fight. After all, Ukrainians are renowned for being the toughest of warriors”.
On how he felt with his new team, he replied, “The training has been fantastic, I have stepped up a level to be ready for my fight in Kiev, I am in great shape”.
The Bantamweight (54kg) contest will see the diminutive Ukrainian Ivan Ilnytskyy battle 2010 President’s Cup winner Miras Zhakupov before the first season’s top ranked Lightweight (61kg) Yerzhan Mussafirov steps into the ring to face the Otamans’ unknown quantity Vyacheslav Kyslytsyn. Another new Arlans recruit, Ehsan Rouzbahani from Iran, who reached the quarter-finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will make his debut in the competition against tall and rangy Denys Poyatsyka of the Ukraine Otamans in the evening’s Light Heavyweight (85kg) bout.
The final contest will see reigning WSB World Heavyweight (91+kg) Champion and 2011 Team Champion Filip Hrgovic fight for Astana Arlans Kazakhstan for the very first time against Rostyslav Arkhypenko.
It promises to a tough introduction to life in WSB for the home team but with the strength in-depth of boxing in the country, the Otamans make have a few pocket aces up their sleeves.