This was an important result for Ukraine after Mexico Guerreros won earlier in the day, and after retaking third in the Group A table, they are now just two points behind the Russian Franchise with one match of the Regular Season to go.
The fixture also held much significance for many individual competitors as it represented their last match of the group stages, and their final chance to earn a Rio 2016 Olympic Games quota through WSB.
Uzbekistan’s Light flyweight (49 kg) Hasanboy Dusmatov has been an excellent operator for the Otamans this season, and earned his seventh successive win in the opening contest by defeating Russia’s 0-2 Belik Galanov.
Only one Olympic quota is available at Light flyweight, and Dusmatov temporarily moved to the top of the rankings after this victory which leaves him three points ahead of Ireland’s Patrick Barnes who competes on Saturday night.
Dusmatov was excellent against Galanov, and dictated the pace of the bout throughout.
Ukraine went 2-0 up in the second bout of the evening by finally winning their first match of the season at Light welterweight (64 kg).
Volodymyr Matviichuk had lost two of those six contests, but achieved a marvelous performance when he beat Russian National Championships bronze medallist Grigorii Lizunenko on points.
Matviichuk was busy in every round, and kept on top of Lizunenko whose sole success was winning the third round on all three scorecards.
Following the early Ukrainian successes, Russia’s 6-0 Petr Khamukov needed to win at Middleweight (75 kg) if his Franchise was to have any chance of winning the overall contest, but he also entered the ring with another mission on his mind.
The Middleweight (75 kg) led the rankings at the beginning of the week, while his undefeated opponent Hurshidbek Normatov could also qualify for Rio if he defeated his Russian rival in Kyiv.
Despite being the shorter fighter, Khamukov was much stronger, and used his boxing brain to manhandle Normatov across the ring throughout their meeting.
After five rounds, Khamukov’s hand was raised, earning Russia their first victory of the match, whilst moving him back to the top of the Middleweight rankings where an Olympic quota awaits.
6-0 Russian Bantamweight (56 kg) Vladimir Nikitin then evened up the scoring, and secured his own Rio quota with a unanimous points win over 0-2 Omurbek Malabekov.
This was a surprisingly close fight considering the gulf in the rankings between the two fighters, but though Malabekov presented a lot of problems, the exemplary Nikitin eventually pulled away and sealed the win.
Nikitin is now assured of finishing in the top two places at Bantamweight, no matter what happens on Saturday night.
With everything to play for heading into the last match of the evening at Heavyweight (91 kg), two men making their first appearances of the season competed against each other.
Ukraine’s Gevorg Manukyan was a relative unknown in WSB heading into this bout, but made a huge name for himself by outperforming Russia’s Sergey Kalchugin and secured a memorable win for his team.
Manukyan displayed tremendous stamina for a Heavyweight, and the Ukrainian stunned Kalchugin on occasion with the accuracy of his shots.
After this victory, Ukraine Otamans visit Cuba Domadores in the last match of the Regular Season, while Russian Boxing Team travel to Morocco Atlas Lions.