With the Hussars Poland definitely unable to qualify for the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Playoffs, and the defending Champions, the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, already guaranteed a place, you would be forgiven for thinking that both teams would back off slightly. What happened instead was the Arlans gave a WSB debut to two of the world’s top AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) boxers including World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov.
All this made for a very exciting match indeed as the Flyweights (52kg), Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg), Light Heavyweights (81kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg) competed this afternoon.
Bout of the match
Flyweights Iliyas Suleimenov and Grzegorz Kozlowski both entered this bout without a win between them, this meant two things: firstly that one of them would be walking out with a vastly improved record, and secondly that they were always going to be fired-up to seize that opportunity. As the bout wore on, the Kazakh boxer’s greater skill and reach began to tell its toll. As he has done all season, Kozlowski battled on. The Kazakh’s footwork was too good though and the Pole was unable to put enough pressure on him. This was good news for Suleimenov who was able to show his class and bring his record to 1-1.
Boxer of the match
World Champion Welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov made his long awaited WSB debut in front of his home crowd in the Almaty Sports Palace; the same venue in which he won his title in October last year. His opponent, Zhora Simonyan from Armenia, came to the ring with a record of 0-1. Yeleussinov looked like the perfect athlete in this bout with fast hands, faster reflexes and brilliant footwork. Yes his opponent was only 19 years old and inexperienced, but Yeleussinov is very much the real deal. The Cuban duo of Arisnoidys Despaigne and Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo will soon have some dangerous company at the top of the rankings to watch out for.
The turning point
Light Heavyweight debutant Adilbek Niyazymbetov took on new Polish boxer Kasjusz Zycinski.The Hussars athlete had made only a single prior appearance in the WSB, which he lost. His opponent by contrast was one of the most loved Kazakh boxers. Always the nearly-man, Niyazymbetov took a silver in AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011, another one in the London 2012 Olympic Games and silver again in the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013. His medal there brought genuine tears to many in the audience who were left wondering if his moment in the sun would ever come. Nonetheless, only in Kazakhstan could such an outstanding boxer be making his WSB debut at this stage of his career. It just goes to show the depth of boxing talent in the country. The southpaw Arlans fighter looked solid from the outset and gave the Pole a standing count in round one. He didn’t however do anything to ramp up his performance thereafter and instead settled for cruising home for an easy win.
Quote of the match
“Describing Yeleussinov simply by calling him a boxer is like referring to Michelangelo a painter-decorator. This is an absolute masterclass!” – WSB Commentator Will Vanders.
The Lightweight bout between Gani Zhailauov and Dawid Michelus proved to be a well-balanced match-up with the Kazakh debutant and one of Poland’s strongest boxers very close in terms of their skill levels. The bout was tied going into round three but as it wore on, it became more ragged and the Kazakh boxer began to edge ahead. In the end it was he who got the first win of his WSB career after a gritty bout.
Armen Simonian of the Astana Arlans and Sergiy Werwejko of the Hussars Poland met in a match of attrition in which both boxers threw big bombs. The Kazakh boxer began to struggle in round three, having started too quickly and he fatigued significantly on his first attempt to box over five rounds. He was counted out for a TKO in round three as much due to exhaustion than any damage he had sustained.
Coming up next
The Hussars Poland are now out of this year’s competition and will have to focus on rebuilding for next season’s campaign. The Astana Arlans Kazakhstan meanwhile look set to compete against either Team Germany or the USA Knockouts in the quarter-finals.