The score line was emphatic and the 14,000 or so home supporters in Havana were delighted. So did the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan coach Sergiy Korchynsky get it completely wrong last night? Actually we don’t think he did, and here is why…
Korchynsky achieved a number of aims last night. Firstly, he rested his first pick boxers for the difficult Playoffs ahead. The Cubans meanwhile, despite their prodigious talent, have the smallest team in the WSB; more or less being able to field just two boxers per weight group. The Cubans are not getting anywhere near as much rest as the top Kazakh boxers coming into the business end of the season. Boxing is a hard sport, in which recovery is vital to ensure optimal performance.
Secondly, he has now had a good look at the Domadores up-close and has five very good additional scouts with actual ring experience against them to bring back and share technical details with the rest of the team. On the other hand, the Cubans still haven’t really got a taste of what it’s like to box the Arlans first team.
Finally, this is the time of year to blood your up-and-coming fighters now that Playoff positions have been secured, so that they are experienced for ever greater responsibilities in seasons to come. The young Kazakh boxers in most cases held their own in the ring, and in some cases pushed their Cuban opponents quite hard. Psychologically, this will be great for them, because they know that this is as hard as it gets. The Cubans meanwhile will be left wondering, if this is what the reserves can do, what are the first team like?
The Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) contested this match.
Bout of the match
Yosbany Veitia, the WSB’s undefeated number one ranked Light Flyweight was in stunning form again, but his opponent, 26 year old WSB debutant Temirtas Zhussupov caused him one or two surprises in the bout. The Kazakh boxer brought a lot of speed to the contest against his southpaw opponent and even knocked him down after catching the Cuban off balance at one point. Regardless of the eventual result, Zhussupov has proved himself to be a very handy boxer and if he can look after himself against the likes of Veitia, even taking the odd round off him by split decision, then the Arlans have got a great prospect on their hands for next season. Both boxers worked relentlessly but Veitia looked the cooler and more economical as it was he who took his fifth straight win in the WSB.
Boxer of the match
Erislandy Savon, the number one ranked WSB Heavyweight, maintained his perfect record against WSB debutant, 25 year old Arbek Abduganiev. As ever, Savon looked elegant in the ring, boxing from his orthodox stance and using the full repertoire of boxing techniques. To give his opponent his due, quite apart from being brave enough to take on one of the world’s top heavyweights on his debut, he was willing to get stuck in and take chances. He also had a good survival instinct, which was fortunate as he was put under considerable pressure for the whole bout. Not that it lasted long. Arlans Head Coach Korchynsky had seen enough by the end of the third round and pulled his man out. But perhaps he had seen enough in more ways than one…
The turning point
Light Welterweight Yasnier Toledo secured the win for the Cubans in the third fight of the evening against 21 year old debutant Ruslan Madiev. Again, as with the Veitia fight above, this one was not as straight forward as it should have been on paper. Both fighters quickly had a lot of respect for each other after some open exchanges late in round one and early in round two. Toledo, as we know from the 5-0 score line, was victorious in the end and he looked solid throughout, but in many ways the more positive performance was from Madiev, who mixed it up well with a world class athlete on his debut. Nonetheless, whilst it is easy to support the underdog, Toledo can only beat the boxer put in front of him and that is exactly what he did. This brought him to 3-1 in the WSB and lifted him to the number two ranked boxer in the category.
Fact/Stat of the match
Savon’s TKO victory means that of his five WSB bouts to date, three have ended with either TKO or KO. That is not a great stat for whoever faces him next.
Bantamweight Bagdad Alimbekov was the great hope for the Arlans. He came into this bout with a 7-1 record which included a win in last year’s tiebreaker of the Finals against Alexandr Riscan of the Ukraine Otamans. The tactical ideal for Korchynsky would probably have been for Alimbekov to beat Marcos Forestal, thus leaving the Domadores with a fear of the Arlans’ first team. Unfortunately that was not how things panned out for the Arlans. His opponent was able to use his reach advantage to keep him at bay for much of the bout.
Ramon Luis, the new number one ranked Middleweight in the WSB following his victory, had a real scrap with 22 year old YerikAlzhanov. Unfortunately both men received cuts during the bout following an accidental clash of heads. The doctor advised the referee to call a halt to proceedings. Based on the points accumulated, the bout was awarded to Luis.
Coming up next
The Cuba Domadores are facing the Azerbaijan Baku Fires at home while the Astana Arlans Kazkahstan are hosting the Hussars Poland.