The World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV all comes down to the second leg between Azerbaijan Baku Fires, and Cuba Domadores.
This event is taking place in the beautiful city of Baku, Azerbaijan on Saturday 7th June at the Sarhadchi Olympic Sport Complex.
Both teams are naturally keen to ensure that they win within the ten bouts over both legs. If not, the contest will go down a Sudden Death match.
The Baku Fires Managing Director Rizvan Genzhiyev announced at the weigh in press conference that: “We hope we will not have to get to the Sudden Death bout”
Alberto Puig de la Barca, President of the Cuban Boxing Federation concurred with that statement for Cuba Domadores, explaining that:
“It took us two days to get to Baku, it is already tiring, we really hope it will be over with 10 bouts”
Nuripasha Talibov, Head Coach of The Baku Fires is confident either way.
“Our line-ups for the first and second day of the finals are equally good.”
Azerbaijan Baku Fires vs. Cuba Domadores
The first fight of the night is at Flyweight (52 kg) and takes place between Azerbaijan’s Elvin Mamishzada and Cuba’s Gerardo Cervantes.
Mamishzada won a silver medal at the 2010 European Championships in Moscow, and is 2-1 in WSB this season, with both of his wins coming at home.
His lone loss was to the undefeated Andrew Selby at the quarter-final stage.
Cervantes is 2-2 in WSB, and will be eager to finish his season with a positive record.
He has lost his last two away matches, both to Eastern European opponents, and Mamishzada will take confidence from the fact that Cervantes has lost by TKO this season, to Russia’s Bakhtovar Nazirov in week eight.
Mamishzada is small for the weight class, and will rely heavily on his speed against Cervantes.
The second fight sees the Welterweights (69 kg) in action, as WSB veteran Mahamed Nurudzinau faces the undefeated gold medal specialist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo.
Baku Fires legend Nurudzinau has competed in all four WSB seasons, and the 33 year old is 1-1 this season.
Sotolongo is one of the best boxers on the planet, and has gold medals from the 2009 AIBA World Boxing Championships, and the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Cuban is 4-0 in his debut WSB season, with wins over Russia’s London 2012 bronze medallist Andrei Zamkovoi, and AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Gabriel Maestre of Venezuela in the competition so far.
This is a true battle of an experienced boxer in the WSB format, against a virtuoso boxer who has looked unbeatable in his short WSB career so far.
Nurudzinau has never lost at home in five WSB matches, and will need to be at his very best to make it six of the best against a true world class fighter.
Fight number three of the evening is a breathtaking battle between two boxers who know how to win tournaments.
Albert Selimov is representing Azerbaijan Baku Fires, and the number four ranked Lightweight (60 kg) is 3-1 in WSB this season, with all three of his victories coming at home.
The 28-year-old star beat Ukraine’s superstar Vasyl Lomachenko in the final of the 2007 AIBA World Boxing Championships, and has had only two WSB losses in career, one of them suffered by Lomachenko ,while the other was this season courtesy of Italy’s top boxer Domenico Valentino.
Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez is ranked number one at Lightweight, and is 6-0 in his first WSB season, including three wins away from home.
Alvarez is a two-time AIBA World Champion, and has fond memories of Baku, as he bagged a gold medal in the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships in the city.
Both Selimov and Alvarez are true icons in this sport, and this has been a match-up many WSB fans have been salivating over since it was announced.
Whoever wins will have achieved an incredible victory, and one that will help their team out immeasurably.
Following up that dream clash are the big boys, as the Super Heavyweights (91+ kg) are in action fourth on the night.
Arslanbek Makhmudov represents The Baku Fires, and has a perfect 4-0 record in WSB this season, with three stoppage finishes in those four fights.
His opponent, Cuba’s José Angel Larduet is 2-1 this season, with his lone loss a TKO defeat to Filip Hrgovic in week four.
The 24-year-old Larduet competed in three different weight classes during his elite career, but the Cuban is ranked nine places lower in WSB compared to his number one ranked opponent, and may find himself vulnerable to Makhmudov’s incredible power, and fantastic home WSB record.
In the Super Heavyweight division one punch can end a fight at any point in the contest, and with so much on the line in this clash, it could be a case of blink and you miss it.
The last fight of the night will take place at Light Heavyweight (81 kg), between The Baku Fires representative Mikhail Dauhaliavets, and Cuba’s Julio Cesar De La Cruz.
Dauhaliavets is from Belarus, but represents the Azerbaijani team with great enthusiasm and loyalty.
The 33 year old is 0-2 this season, but impressed a lot of people in his last fight against the very experienced Hrvoje Sep, even winning the fight on one judge’s scorecard.
25 year old Julio Cesar De La Cruz won the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, and defended his title in Almaty last October.
He is 4-1 in his debut WSB this season, with only Russia’s European Champion Nikita Ivanov able to beat him in a close away bout.
Julio is the current team captain of the Cuban national squad, and boasts wins over the likes of Hrvoje Sep and Teymur Mammadov, and is the number one ranked Light Heavyweight in WSB.
While he will be the favourite in the contest, Dauhaliavets is a former Olympian, and carries power.
In the event of a draw on aggregate after all ten of the bouts in the Finals, the WSB Champion will be decided by a Welterweight (69kg) tiebreaker between Azerbaijan Baku Fires Yauheni Ramashkevich and Cuba Domadores’ Arisnoydis Despaigne.