The Otamans were happy to prove that this World Series of Boxing (WSB) fourth season is not just a two horse race between the defending champions, the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan and the Cuba Domadores. Their emphatic win over the USA Knockouts proved that they too, as last year’s vice champions, are not to be discounted.
The Flyweights (52kg), Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg), Light Heavyweights (81kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg) were the boxers that took to the ring for this evening’s match.
Bout of the match
Swedish Super Heavyweight Mohamed Sallah was the USA Knockouts last hope of getting a score on the board when he came on for the last bout of the evening. He took on Rostyslav Arkhypenko who has a WSB record of 1-4 and is desperate to improve it. Two boxers with a point to prove was always going to make for an interesting encounter and this proved to be the case. There was a huge size and height difference between the two athletes, with the shorter Otamans fighter having little choice but to work the body initially. With the Swede dominating the first and most of the second by out-muscling his opponent, the Ukrainian began to find his range late in the second round. In the third he started landing but continued to be frustrated by Sallah who was doing enough to dominate the bout. In the final few moments of the fight, the flow suddenly reversed and it was the Knockouts boxer who was desperately hanging on to make it to the finish line. In the end he did so gained some redemption for the US team.
Boxer of the match
Oleksandr Ganzulia of the Otamans took on American Light Heavyweight Anthony Campbell. The Ukrainian came out hard, and scored early, but Campbell settled down quickly and began to use his jab to try to hold his opponent at bay. The American’s hand speed was impressive as was his footwork. This was a classic stylistic match up with the hard Ukrainian coming forward and the fleet-footed American switching stances and circling. In round two, Campbell tried to bring his opponent in but got absolutely nailed by the hard hitting Ganzulia. This continued to happen and the American began to endure punishment which he tried to smile-off as if it wasn’t affecting him. The Ukrainian wasn’t falling for it and continued to be methodical, systematic and brilliant in his approach. The corner recognised what was happening too and threw in the towel before the start of round four.
The turning point
Welterweight Denys Lazarev took on Nodir Kasimov of the Knockouts. This very quickly became a bout of attrition which was impressive in its own way. The Knockouts boxer took a lot of punishment during this bout, but was working behind a solid guard throughout. The local boxer was however utterly dominant. He displayed an incredible work rate to keep his opponent on the back foot and behind his defensive shield, using every tool in his arsenal to do so. It was a solid display and one that bodes well for the Otamans moving forward.
Fact/Stat of the match
Sallah was cheeky enough to wink at the crowd all the way through his bout against Arkhypenko. And surprisingly it actually worked. With the match already won for the home side, the Palace of Sports audience started to enjoy his attitude and at the end of the bout he was surrounded by dozens of fans who wanted to take a picture with him. “I like to think that I am a showman. I want the crowd to participate. But I only do it when I know I’m safe. I don’t want to look ridiculous and get hit while winking”, said the Swede.
Elsewhere, Lightweight Ukrainian Pavlo Ishchenko made his WSB debut against Uzbek opponent Bahodirjon Sultonov of the USA Knockouts. Sultonov is an Olympian and two time participant at the AIBA World Championships. Yet the Ukrainian is the current European Champion and very much a young athlete on the rise. As the bout progressed, the energy of the younger Otamans boxer began to shine through. By the third he was clearly in control of the bout. Ishchenko was impressive today and got even better as the match went on. By the end he was totally dominant. With Lomachenko’s big boots to fill, this was a spectacular debut and it bodes extremely well for the Arlans for this season.
At Flyweight, the Otamans were awarded a walk over but were still willing to put on an exhibition bout for the fans. Unfortunately for them, American boxer Eros Correa who stood in at the last minute seems to be quite a hot prospect and he dominated his local rival for an emphatic US victory. Unfortunately it won’t go in the books.
Coming up next
The USA will be looking to capitalise on the positives they can gain from their exhibition bout win and their point on the board today when they host the Argentina Condors, who lost by the same score-line to the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder yesterday. With next week’s match between the Otamans and Germany postponed, ironically, Ukraine’s next match is also against Argentina at home in a fortnight’s time.