The Arlans are still in business whilst Season III semi-finalists, the Mexico Guerreros continue to struggle in Week 4 of the World Series of Boxing’s (WSB).
None other than WSB’s own superstar Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko led the home side’s assault on the struggling Latin American team asthe Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) all took to the ring this afternoon.
Bout of the match
Zhanibek Azhibay took on Christian “Gato Gordo” Bielma of the Guerreros in an absolute war between the two WSB debutants at Light Welterweight. At this point, the Mexicans hadn’t managed a single win yet this season, which was incredible given that just six months ago, the Season III semi-finalist Guerreros team looked capable of beating anyone on their day. Both fighters came out fast but the Arlans athlete looked dominant in the first round, stunning the new Guerrero early on by using his reach. In round two, the “Fat Cat” began to drive his way forward and significantly improved his work rate. The Guerrero used his aggression well and got himself back into the bout to make it one round each. In the third the Mexican used the same tactics again with an extremely fast tempo and very aggressive style to overwhelm his opponent. Bielma took the round but looked like he was fading through the exertion towards the end. The question was: could he maintain the strategy for the fourth before allowing himself to go into survival mode if needed in the final round? However, nice that might have been for Bielma, Azhibay fought back and with the Guerrero only taking a split decision in the 4th, the bout was too close for Bielma to be able to step off the gas in the final round. With the bout still wide open, the Kazakh stunned the Mexican a few times in the fifth with heavy blows but Bielma just about hung on to win the closest bout so far this season and end the run of defeats suffered by the Mexican boxers.
Boxer of the match
Sergiy Derevyanchenko was as magnificent as ever in the ring today against the debutant Diego Moreno Amador. It was difficult as a neutral not to feel anything but extreme sympathy for the young Guerrero as he made his first appearance in the WSB against the competition’s most successful ever fighter. This was the proverbial baptism of fire for the Guerreros’ new lad and the Ukrainian landed some wonderful combinations to the body and several fabulous uppercuts and overhand rights throughout the fight. The Guerrero tried to circle out of danger and use his jab. He fought back gamely, but in reality he was completely out-gunned with Derevyanchenko landing punches at will. By halfway through round four, the referee had seen enough, and he sensibly stopped the bout to give the master Derevyanchenko TKO number six and win number 20 in his WSB career.
The turning point
Heavyweight Vasilii Levit returned to the ring for the Arlans following his surprise win in Week 1 of the season against experienced Baku Fires Campaigner Abdulkadir Abdullayev. That was a real upset, with Levit showing that he may well carve himself a place among the very best in the weight category this year. His opponent Christian Demaj of Albania meanwhile had the unfortunate record of 0-3 going into this bout and was keen to turn that around. Sadly for him, it soon transpired that he lacked the ability to do so against a boxer of Levit’s emerging class. Nonetheless Demaj won the opening round, but the bout was not just downhill from there for the Albanian fighter, but a veritable ski slope. The Kazakh boxer came back aggressively in round two leaving the Albanian looking wobbly on his way back to his stool. And by the middle of round three, Demaj was lucky to still be in the fight. He failed to come out for the fifth round with the Guerreros head coach sensibly protecting his fighter and calling the bout off early. This was an important win for the Arlans in the battle to make it back to the top of the group since with the Cubans as rivals, every bout will count. For the Guerreros though it was another crushing defeat with their team now needing to make urgent progress if they are to make it to the Playoffs this year.
Fact/Stat of the match
Prior to the Guerreros win today, they had gone 12 bouts without a victory. So “el Gato Gordo” made an important contribution to the team’s season; hopefully one which will act as a catalyst for the re-emergence of the Guerrero spirit of old.
Mardan Berikbayev looked solid against Jose Zaleta Reyes as they made their WSB debuts at Light Flyweight. With both athletes being southpaws, they somewhat negated each other’s game. The Kazakh boxer was light on his feet and looked very confident throughout. It was nice to get a look at Berikayev in competition. As the Kazakhstan and Astana Arlans number two to World Champion Birzhan Zhakypov, he doesn’t get selected often for an obvious reason. He dominated across the first two rounds but the 19 year old Mexican was not being overawed by the occasion. Both boxers deserve credit for keeping it clean and displaying good boxing skills throughout, but the win went to Kazakhstan.
Elsewhere Meirbolat Toitov took on Sergio Chirino Sanchez of the Guerreros at Bantamweight. Toitov went into this bout with a record of 2:1 including a victory over Best WSB Boxer of 2013 and Mexico Guerreros team captain Elias Emigdio last season. So this was a big task for the 19 year old Mexican debutant. Sanchez looked extremely confident going out however and took to the centre of the ring in his orthodox stance against the southpaw Kazakh, who boxed with a low guard. The Kazakh was able to get through with some very clean shots while the Mexican looked to counter punch. In round three, the Mexican got caught with a body shot and got handed a standing eight for dropping. Toitov managed the bout from thereon out, picking the advancing Mexican off with his jab through the 4h and 5th. The Mexican deserves credit though for pursuing the bout to the end despite being out-boxed throughout. Thus we can even say, he was out boxed, but not out fought.
Coming up next
Next weekend we will finally get the match we have all been waiting for as the Arlans take on the Domadores at home. The Champions vs. the pretenders to the throne, will be a bout for boxing fans to look forward to, and it will be available live (and FREE) on www.aibaboxingtv.com.
The Guerreros meanwhile need to dust themselves off quickly and take what momentum they can from their first win of the season as they take on fellow strugglers Hussars Poland in a must win clash for both teams in Mexico City.