Captivating Caciques Venezuela defeat Italia Thunder in Maiquetía

Caciques Venezuela recovered from losing the first two legs in Maiquetía to defeat Italia Thunder 3-2 in a pulsating World Series of Boxing (WSB) clash.

The victory for the South American Franchise means they are just a single point behind third placed Italy in the Group B table, with one match of the Regular Season to go.

There was early team and individual success for the Italian team in the opening match of the evening when Ireland’s Patrick Barnes earned his seventh successive victory of the season, and finished top of the Light flyweight (49 kg) rankings after he defeated Venezuela’s Yoel Finol.

Only one Rio 2016 Olympic Games quota was available for the Light flyweights, and Barnes needed to win following Hasanboy Dusmatov’s success on Friday night.

He showed no nerves against Finol, knocking down his opponent in the first round and utilised his power and pressure consistently throughout the fight.

Barnes won 49-45 on two scorecards, while the third judge awarded the contest to the Venezuelan 48-47.

Despite the split decision verdict, the win was enough to send Barnes back to the top of the Light flyweight rankings, and earn him a Rio 2016 quota.

Another Irish fighter to succeed for the Italy on the night was 5-2 Michael Conlan, who also achieved his own Olympic quota by beating José Vicente Azocar.

Conlan began the WSB weekend ranked third at Bantamweight (56 kg), but after Azerbaijan’s Magomed Gurbanov lost in Puerto Rico, his Olympic destiny was secured with a 49-46 win across the board against his South American opponent.

The Irish star expertly displayed his unorthodox style and elusive reflexes en route to the victory, and the valuable second place in the Bantamweight rankings.

Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre headed into his fight with Venezuela’s Luis Arcón knowing that a stoppage or unanimous decision win would not only seal the overall victory for Italy on the night, but also secure a top two ranking in the Light welterweight (64 kg) division and an Olympic quota.

Unfortunately for the Italian he was up against a motivated Arcón who was the busier fighter in the opening three rounds.

Though Mangiacapre made a comeback it was too late, and he lost the match, plus his Olympic opportunities through WSB 48-47 according to all three judges.

The Venezuelan team evened up the match after fight number four at Middleweight (75 kg) when Nalek Rachid Korbaj Barrerra dominated Italy’s Salvatore Cavallaro in a very entertaining clash.

With everything to play for heading into the last bout at Heavyweight (91 kg), it was down to either home star Alfonso Flores or Italian debutant Giuseppe Claudio Squeo to become a hero for their team.

Squeo was aggressive in the opening stages of the fight, but Flores remained composed and eventually won on all three scorecards, securing a famous victory for Venezuela which maintains their hopes of reaching the knockout stages in their debut season.

Caciques Venezuela travel to Rafako Hussars Poland in the last week of the Regular Season, while Italia Thunder host Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.