The second instalment of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV semi-finals sees a contest between the defending WSB Champions, and a team who hope to earn that honour this season.
April 26th is the date for the the first leg of the semi-finals between defending Champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan Baku Fires. The overall winner of both legs will go on to face either The Russian Boxing Team, or the Cuba Domadores in the finals.
The first leg will be held at Almaty Sport Palace, giving Kazakhstan home advantage, while the second leg will take place in Azerbaijan.
Both teams enjoyed a dominant quarter-final leg, and both were pushed hard in the other. Azerbaijan shockingly smashed Dolce & Gabanna Italian Thunder 5-0 at home in their first leg, before just scraping through in Italy, as they lost 4-1.
Kazakhstan won away 3-2 in Germany in their first leg, before asserting their skills at home, with a whitewash 5-0 win at Almaty Sport Palace.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan vs. Azerbaijan Baku Fires
26/04/2014, 14:50 (BST) – Register here to watch LIVE and see highlights on AIBAboxingTV
The first contest of the night sees an intriguing clash between the number four ranked Light Flyweight (46-49kg) class boxer, and an exciting talent who has competed against the very best this season.
Temirtas Zhussupov represents Kazakhstan, and has fought twice in WSB this season, with a 1-1 record. His loss was against the undefeated Cuban Yosbany Veitia, with one judge awarding the fight to Zhussupov.
He comes up against the number four ranked Azerbaijan athlete Khamza Nametov, who boasts a 3-1 record this season, including a TKO win in his last match against the number three ranked Mark Anthony Barriga.
Nametov is five years younger than his opponent, and will be hoping that his southpaw stance will ensure an away victory for his team.
At Bantamweight (56kg), home favourite Madi Shulakov takes on the 2012 WSB Individual Champion Gairbek Germakhanov.
Shulakov has only fought once in WSB this season, a home points win in week seven against Russia’s Nikita Fedorchenko.
Azerbaijan’s Germakhanov was the number one ranked Bantamweight in the 2011/12 season, but has only fought twice this season, earning a 1-1 record.
Both of Germakhanov’s fights have come away from home, while Shulakov lone win this season occurred at home, which will give him confidence in the contest.
Light Welterweight (64kg) sees a high class bout, as Azerbaijan’s number three ranked fighter Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev takes on the number four ranked Askhat Ualikhanov, who has a 3-1 record in WSB this season, losing his last fight on points in the quarter-finals against Germany’s Artem Harutyunyan.
Gadzhialiyev is 3-1 this season, with all of his wins coming via points. Two of his successes have come at home, although he did lose to the Russian Maxim Dadashev at Almaty Sport Palace in week nine, which will give some confidence to his opponent.
The Middleweight (75kg) class is one of the most glamorous divisions in all of boxing, and it is no different in WSB which boasts some world class 75kg boxers.
Perhaps the greatest Middleweight in WSB history is the Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko, a two-time WSB Individual Champion who represents Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, and the number one ranked superstar has only ever lost once in 23 WSB contests.
This season he is 4-0, including two TKO wins. His opponent will be Soltan Migitinov, whose sole WSB outing this season was a week seven TKO victory over Mexico’s Juan Antonio Mercado.
Although Derevyanchenko will be the heavy favourite, three of Migitinov’s five WSB career wins have come via TKO, and the Ukrainian will have to be wary of the power.
The last contest of the evening is at Heavyweight (91kg), and sees the number two ranked Kazakh Vasilii Levit against the seventh ranked Azerbaijan powerhouse Abdulkadir Abdullayev.
These two fighters met in week one, with Vasilii picking up a points victory, although Abdullayev won the last two rounds of the contest, which will give him confidence going into the rematch.
Levit is 5-0 this season in WSB, only behind Erislandy Savon in the rankings, while Abdullayev became the first man to knock out WSB legend, and two-time World Championship gold medallist Clemente Russo in his quarter-final clash with the Italian.
Two powerful heavyweights, both in form, and both eager to dominate their rematch – what could be better?