This weekend the World Series of Boxing (WSB) makes a historic first appearance in La Havana, Cuba as the enigmatic Russian Team travel to take on the Domadores de Cuba in their first ever home match.
There will be plenty more action as well as the Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) will take to the ring in Group B this weekend in the C1 weight group.
Domadores de Cuba vs Russian Boxing Team
It’s two wins out of two for WSB new boys the Cuba Domadores who currently lead the “Group of Death” ahead of defending champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan. The Cubans are the only team to have won all their bouts after two matches but face stiff competition from the potential dark horse of the group, the Russian Boxing Team, who go into this bout in third place. The Russians have the honour of being the first ever WSB team to visit the Cuban capital and they have chosen a mixture of experienced and inexperienced boxers in their starting line-up. The Cubans meanwhile will send one of their star boxers out for this symbolically important opening bout, in the guise of Light Flyweight Yosbany Veitia, who returned from the AIBA World Boxing Championships, Almaty 2013 in October with a bronze medal. He is also the defending Pan American silver medallist and won his WSB debut in week one against the very dangerous Joselito Velazquez of the Mexico Guerreros. The other big Cuban star (in more ways than one) is Erislandy Savon who makes an appearance at Heavyweight against WSB veteran Vitaly Kudukhov. On paper this is the clash of the match with the three season veteran Kudukhov (6-4) taking on the 2009 Pan American Champion Savon, whose uncle was the great Felix Savon (a three time Olympic gold medallist and six time World Champion). Russia will also be looking to the experience of Season II veteran Eduard Abzalimov, who makes his long-awaited return to the WSB this year. Though only 1-1 in the WSB, Abzalimov is the 2010 European Champion and the 2009 World silver medallist; this shows that the Russians are taking the match seriously enough following their home defeat in Week 2 at the hands of the Arlans. But are they packing enough heat to rebound against the Domadores or will the Cubans be able to sustain their unbeaten run?
Hussars Poland vs. Azerbaijan Baku Fires
It’s crunch time for the Hussars who enter this match without having won a single bout this season and thus find themselves pinned to the bottom of the table. In a group of impossible fixtures this is one of the more winnable ones for the group underdogs and they will need to at least get some bout wins on the board to boost the team’s confidence. Despite losing in the opening week against defending Champions Astana Arlans, the Fires on the other hand are in positive mood after a 5-0 thrashing of the Mexico Guerreros at home. This is an important match for the Azeri team as it offers the chance to put some real distance between themselves and the bottom two teams in the table potentially facilitating their trip through to the playoffs. Poland’s key man will be Mateusz Malujda who has a WSB record of 2-2 and was recruited from the pro-ranks last season where he had a 4-3 record. The 31 year old journeyman will be pivotal in a Hussars team that is otherwise made up of WSB debutants, as the Polish look to develop their emerging talent. Malujda will himself be facing a WSB first timer in Denis Latypov. If Poland were to win just one bout, on paper this would be the most likely as elsewhere the Azeris are bringing seriousfirepower (pun intended) in the shape of Middleweight Jaba Khositashvili, (the 2011 European bronze medallist with a 6-1 WSB record) and more importantly Bantamweight Gairbek Germakhanov (the 2012 WSB Individual Champion with a record of 10-2 in the WSB). Germakhanov, who was the number one ranked WSB Bantamweight in Season II will be looking to take advantage of Poland’s new kid on the block, 19 year old Marek Pietruczuk to get his season underway and extend his already solid personal record. Can the Hussars get some bouts on the scoreboard to kick start their season or will they get burned by the Fires? Find out tonight!
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan vs. The Mexico Guerreros
The Guerreros have had a disastrous start to their Season IV Campaign. Last season’s semi-finalists looked capable of beating anyone but so far this year they have also failed to win a single bout. Things won’t get any easier for them this week as they travel to face the defending Champions the Astana Arlans. The Alpha Wolves meanwhile will want to defend their territory from the emerging Cuba Domadores team and return to the head of the pack this weekend. The Guerreros can expect no mercy from the champions as the position at the top of the group may well come down to the number of bouts won if things continue to progress at this rate. As if this point needed any further emphasis the Arlans are deploying their equivalent of the nuclear option in the form of the WSB’s most successful boxer ever Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko at Middleweight. Derevyanchenko has suffered only a single loss in the WSB across four seasons and twenty bouts. He wins by TKO in 25% of his bouts and was the number one Middleweight in Seasons I and II. He has won the title with two different teams (Italia Thunder and Astana Arlans) whilst also winning the WSB Individual Championships on both occasions that they were held. His opponent Diego Moreno Amador is therefore going to quite probably have the most difficult WSB debut in history. Indeed the Mexican strategy for this bout is difficult to follow, as despite the quality of their opponents, they are handing debuts to all but one boxer (Albanian Christian Demaj) and they enter the ring with exactly zero wins in the WSB between them. Compare that to the 23 wins accumulated by the Arlans team (19 of which come from Derveyanchenko) and you can see where there may be a collective experience gap. That said, the Arlans are also handing debuts to Light Flyweight Mardan Berikayev andLight Welterweight Zhanibek Azhibay, which excluding the home advantage, should make these quite competitive bouts.New boy Vasilii Levit retains his place at Heavyweight after his shock win on his debut match against WSB veteran Abdulkadir Abdullayev of the Baku Fires in Week 1. This is going to be another rough weekend for the struggling Guerreros who urgently need get some wins on the board.