Our headline clash this weekend from Group A is the third placed Team Germany verses the second placed Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder. But with both the Algeria Desert Hawks and the USA Knockouts now lying just a point behind the Eagles, the pressure is on the German boxers to take at least one point from the encounter; or better still all three.
The Thunder however are only a point behind group leaders, the Ukraine Otamans who still have a game in hand. The desire to top the group and face a potentially easier draw is strong for the Italians, meaning this could be a tough weekend for Team Germany.
Team Germany vs. Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder
07/02/2014, 20:00 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
Unsurprisingly, with so much at stake, the Thunder are pulling some big names out of the hat this weekend. The talented Light Flyweight (46-49kg) Mark Barriga of the Philippines is one to watch out for. Although only 1-0 in the World Series of Boxing (WSB), he impressed in his performances in AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) competition last year and at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in October. Light Welterweight (64kg) Branimir Stankovic will add experience to the Italian line-up. The Serbian is 7-3 in the WSB and is in his third season with the Thunder. He will want to make up for the away loss to the Ukraine Otamans that has been a smear on his campaign so far this year. His opponent Kastriot Sopa makes his first appearance in the WSB this year and is currently 2-1. Guess who that loss was to? That’s right, Stankovic. The rematch should be interesting.
At Heavyweight (91kg) Hungarian Imre Szello steps in at the last minute for World Champion Clemente Russo. The thirty year old is not a bad swap. With his 11-3 WSB record, he has the experience to cause Germany’s Emir Ahmatovic (1-0) some serious difficulties.
Will the less experienced German team cope with the pressure, or will we see new team in the third slot? Find out on AIBABoxingTV.com!
USA Knockouts vs. Algeria Desert Hawks
08/02/2014, 01:50 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
If Italy vs. Germany is the biggest match on paper, then this is the most critical one in Group A this weekend. If Germany were to lose at home or merely leave the game with a point, then a clear winner between the USA and the Desert Hawks would leapfrog them in the table. With Germany having two matches in hand, both teams will want to take the full three points from this match to seize that chance.
Given the magnitude of the encounter, the Hawks have pulled out all the stops, whilst the Knockouts have selected if not their most experienced boxers, then those who possess some of the best winning rates. World silver medallist Mohamed Flissi (2-2) will make just his second outing of the season at Light Flyweight and will be a real challenge for Porto Rican Knockouts boxer Anthony Chacon. Ilyas Abbadi (4-1) will be appearing at Middleweight (75kg) andChouaib Bouloudinats (11-5) will be fighting at Heavyweight. With the exception of the unfortunate withdrawal of Abdelkader Chadi at Light Welterweight, this really does represent the Algerian first pick team.
Argentina Condors vs. Ukraine Otamans
09/02/2014, 02:00 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
In the final match of the group this weekend, the table topping Ukraine Otamans will face the basement boys, the Argentina Condors. The South American team are a long way from being out of the mix however, lying only two points behind both the USA Knockouts and the Algeria Desert Hawks, they could still snatch a place in the Playoffs. To do so however, they will need to cause a big upset at home this weekend.
The Ukrainians haven’t sent a team that will roll over easily. Despite handing debuts to Light Flyweight Dymtro Zamotayev and Heavyweight GevorgManukian, the spine of their team is held together by the world class Bantamweight Mykola Butsenko and the vastly experienced Middleweight DmytroMytrofanov. Mytrofanov was instrumental in the Otamans’ rise to prominence last year, winning six of seven bouts. Having claimed some of the biggest scalps in the WSB and with a record of 9:2, the Ukrainian is one of the Otamans go-to boxers when things get tough. However the Ukrainians don’t desperately need the win, so the question will be whether the Argentinean boxers are hungry enough to upset the odds this weekend.