The Azerbaijan Baku Fires won an important bout over Group B rivals, the Mexico Guerreros, at home this evening in a key World Series of Boxing (WSB) match which saw the Fires open a three point gap on the Mexicans and Hussars Poland to go fourth in the table. Meanwhile, Russia’s loss today means that Azeri team has also narrowed the gap to just a point on their local rivals.
The Group B battle was contested by the Flyweights (52kg), Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg), Light Heavyweights (81kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg)
Bout of the match
Flyweight Magomed Abdulhamidov of the Baku Fires took on WSB new boy Orlando Huitzil of the Mexico Guerreros. The Azeri boxer worked from a high guard throughout the bout and was exploding out of it to score excellent counters. He made repeated use of a tight, close range right hook which he launched to great affect at the Mexican as a counter attack. The Guerrero would land a blow on Abdulhamidov’s guard and the Azeri would follow the attack back out with his hook. The debutant walked onto that particular shot on multiple occasions as he became increasingly desperate and began to chase the bout. The local boxer clearly won, but the young Mexican was brave and deservedly raised his arms to celebrate his WSB debut at the final gong. He fought a good bout and the crowd acknowledged it warmly. Abdulhamidov however has to be recognised as one of the best boxers of the match.
Boxer of the match
Welterweight Carl Hield is one of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) success stories. In addition to competing in the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 as part of the AIBA Road to Dream program – which supports talented boxers from developing boxing nations – the Bahaman athlete was also picked up by the Mexico Guerreros this summer. At the World Championships he explained that “AIBA really made me who I am today because I’ve been to all the “Road to” training camps. Italy, Baku, Wales. And now I’m here. It’s helping me because I’m the only Elite boxer in my country, so I don’t get decent sparring at home, and the training facilities are really bad so thanks to the AIBA Road to Dream program, I was able to come here two weeks before, get good time with other boxers and get a good training program”. The experience obviously helped Hield as he made his WSB debut against the three season veteran Mohamed Nurudzinau. The Baku Fires boxer was sublime however and used his know-how to take the bout and make it 3-0 to the home side. Nonetheless it was a very positive step for Hield, Bahaman sport and the Road to Dream program.
The turning point
Although only the second bout in the evening, the psychological impact of former Lightweight World Champion Albert Selimov’s win over WSB debutantLuis Daniel Norberto of the Guerreros seemed to have wider implications in the match. The WSB veteran, who has six wins and whose only defeat came at the hands of the great Vasyl Lomachenkno last season, was in total control of the bout from beginning to end and was boxing with his hands down by the second round. His distancing was inch-perfect and was able to evade three and four punch combinations from the Mexican before landing his own at will. Following the Guerreros school of thought, Norberto was really pressing forward despite the fact that he was being picked off for doing so. It was a courageous performance that made for an entertaining bout. Selimov’s uppercut from both hands was outstanding and he landed it on numerous occasions during the bout. In the end he cruised to an easy win.
Fact/Stat of the match
The Mexican’s handed debuts to four new boxers today. In fact the whole team had only one bout’s experience between them.
Light Heavyweight Ramazan Magomedau looked fantastic against Uzbek WSB debutant Boburbek Yuldashev who was turning out for the Guerreros. Although he was fighting a less experienced boxer, Magomedau looked excellent. He fought with his hands low but using fantastic footwork, head movement and a dangerous left jab, he avoided taking any damage. He looked like he was comfortably in another league to his opponent. The Guerreros boxer wasn’t aggressive enough going forward to change the outcome of the bout and in the end it was an easy victory for the Azeri.
At Super Heavyweight Arslanbek Makhmudov toyed with his Uzbek Guerreros opponent Renat Rahimov before dropping him in the third for a TKO victory. The 2010 World University Champion has had a mixed record in the WSB across three seasons. His record previously stood at 2 wins and three losses so this was an important win for him on a personal level to take his win rate to 50%. To have done so with such style will give him and his team confidence as the season goes on.
Coming up next
Azerbaijan will have a difficult away match to the Russian Boxing Team. The Russian’s who are coming off the back of a home defeat to Kazakhstan will be keen to prevent a repeat, whilst the Fires will be hoping to realign the mid-table pecking order in their favour. That will be one to watch! The battered and bruised Guerreros team, who have failed to win a single bout so far this season will be taking on fellow basement boys the Hussars Poland, with both sides urgently needing to get their campaigns underway.