In an extraordinarily tight match in Italy, it required the intervention of the Heavyweight World Champion Clemente Russo to save the hosts blushes just a week after they celebrated their 100th home win. The landmark reminded us that the Italia Thunder are the only team to have maintained an unbeaten record at home across all four WSB seasons so far, but that almost changed tonight…
The Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) contested this match.
Bout of the match
Italia Thunder’s Mark Barriga and the USA Knockouts Lu Bin faced-off in an epic clash between two of the WSB’s hottest up-and-coming Light Flyweights. Bin possibly had the faster hands while Barriga definitely had the better movement. On certain occasions, Bin had his Filipino opponent in the corner and he off loaded some stunning combinations. Out in the open however and it was Barriga who was able to use the angles to score. After five excellent rounds, the two boxers embraced in a great sign of sportsmanship. It was Barriga who used his experience to win however, which takes him to 3-0 in the WSB, making him the number 2 ranked Light Flyweight.
Boxer of the match
Clemente Russo won standing applause for his job in rescuing the Italia Thunder’s evening. With the bout tied at 2-2 when he made his appearance, a win was critical. But Russo had a cool head. Living dangerously, and full of confidence, the Italian Heavyweight World Champion was determined to entertain the crowd regardless of the risk. This put him back to his show stopping best. Boxing with his hands down for the entire bout, Russo used his snake-like head movement and pivoting foot work to stay out of trouble. Because his feet are so static ordinarily, on those moments when he does need to take full evasive action, it is stunning to see just how much distance he can put between himself and his opponent at speed when he feels it is necessary. His opponent Joshua Temple boxed well but could not get near the great Italian across the full five rounds. It was another big win for Russo to bring him to 18-2 in the WSB and it gets him back on the winning path after having suffered two consecutive losses.
The turning point
Branimir Stankovic boxing for the Italia Thunder took on Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic at Light Welterweight. Again the Italia Thunder boxer was interested in turning the bout into a scrap, whilst the 19 year old Knockouts boxer wanted to work at range. It was a storm of a match that could really have been the bout of the night, were it not for the fact that when it occurred, the match was poised at 1-1. Following Adames’ intervention however, the evening had swung dangerously in the favour of the USA Knockouts.
Quote of the match
“It’s almost Matrix-like the way he [Barriga] can bend his head back away from his body to avoid taking shots” – The WSB Commentator on Mark Barriga’s evasion skills.
Michele Crudetti of the Italia Thunder took on a very handy looking Steven Fulton. Fulton came into the bout with a record of 1-1 whilst the Italian was 0-1, meaning that they were fairly well matched. The American looked very stylish and liked to dance around his opponent. The Italian was a front foot boxer though, and whenever he got in close, he caused problems. In the end the American won it but not without difficulty.
Bogdan Juratoni was in a critical position for the Thunder when he fought fellow Middleweight Marlo Delgado Suarez. With the Italian outfit having only just celebrated their 100th home win last weekend, they were now trailing 2-1 to the USA Knockouts on home soil. If Delgado Suarez was to take this bout, a four year old tradition of remaining unbeaten in WSB matches would be over in a heartbeat. For a moment, in round two, it looked like that was very much on the cards, but the Romanian mercenary, who is boxing for the Thunder, was critical when it counted and outpointed his opponent to leave it in the hands of Clemente Russo. For a foreign boxer who was 0-1 coming into this bout, Juratoni showed everyone the way to guarantee you get a call back.
Coming up next
Both the Italia Thunder and (almost certainly) the USA Knockouts are now through to the Playoffs. Their exact opponent’s may be subject to some adjustment as there are still some matches in hand. But if things stay as they are, the USA will be facing the unbeaten Cuba Domadores, and the Italia Thunder will have a tough match against the ruthless Russian Boxing Team.