The World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV semi-finals have arrived, and the first contest is a mouthwatering clash between two legendary boxing nations.
April 24th sees the first leg of the semi-finals between The Russian Boxing Team, and the Cuban Domadores, with the overall winner of both legs heading to the final to face either Azerbaijan Baku Fires, or the defending Champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.
The first leg will be held at the Moscow Arena giving the Russians home advantage, while the second leg will take place in Cuba.
Both teams enjoyed great success in the quarter-finals. The Russian Boxing Team enjoyed an 8-2 aggregate win over Ukraine Otamans, while Cuba also defeated USA Knockouts via an 8-2 margin, including a clean sweep 5-0 win at home in Havana.
Russian Boxing Team vs. Cuba Domadores
24/04/2014, 17:30 (BST) – Register here to watch LIVE and see highlights on AIBAboxingTV
In the first bout of the night, the Russian Belik Galanov will try and claim his second win of the season. The 25-year-old Light Flyweight (46-49kg) is currently 1-1 in WSB this season, with his last contest a close points loss to the undefeated Kazakhstan fighter Mardan Barikbayev in week seven.
His opponent will be the number one ranked Yosbany Veitia Soto. The Cuban southpaw has so far won all of his six bouts in the WSB, and will be the favourite to make it a magnificent seven in Moscow.
At Bantamweight (56kg), Vladimir Nikitin is ranked number two in his division. The 24-year-old boxer has amassed a 3-0 record this season, all points wins, and all victories coming at home in Moscow.
His opponent is the Cuban Norlan Yera, who will be making his WSB debut against Nikitin.
Yera could not have asked for a tougher first contest against the dominant Nikitin, who will be the favourite to win on home turf.
Light Welterweight (64kg) is one of the most competitive divisions in WSB, and Moscow will see the number one ranked boxer against a Russian making his first home appearance of the season.
Yasnier Toledo is 4-1 this season, and ranked at number one. The southpaw has already won away from home twice this season, including a quarter-final victory over Carlos Adames, the number five ranked boxer who represented USA Knockouts.
Toledo comes up against the 1-1 Russian Maxim Dadashev, the 2008 AIBA Youth World Championship silver medalist, who has only fought away this season, winning his last fight impressively against the third ranked Azerbaijan fighter Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev in week nine.
This could very well be the most intriguing contest of the evening, with a possible upset on the cards.
The Middleweight (75kg) clash in Moscow sees Artem Chebotarev up against the relatively unknown Cuban Arlen Lopez.
Lopez has yet to feature this season in WSB, while Chebotarev is 2-0, with both of his wins so far coming at home, and against top ten ranked opponents, including a stoppage win over Poland’s Tomasz Jablonski in week one.
Owing to Lopez’s lack of WSB experience, the multi-time Russian National Champion Chebotarev is the favourite for this one.
In the last bout of the evening, at Heavyweight (91kg), Erislandy Savon puts his 5-0 record (including one KO and two TKOs) on the line against Russia’s Eugeniy Tischenko, who is 2-0 in WSB this season, including a TKO win over Christian Demaj in week five.
Tischenko is ranked at six at Heavyweight, but comes up against the man who has dominated all his rivals so far this season.
Savon is the number one ranked Heavyweight in WSB, and the man who narrowly lost to Olympic Champion Anthony Joshua in the first round of action in London 2012 will aim to make it the joy of six for himself, and Cuba in the final fight of the night.