Ukraine Otamans aim to subject Cuba Domadores to their first loss of the season

The last week in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Regular Season features an excellent match between Season IV Champions Cuba Domadores, and Ukraine Otamans.

After winning the WSB title in their debut season, the Cuban team have remained undefeated in the competition, and seek their 14th consecutive victory of Season V.

Ukraine are in excellent form too, having won four of their last five matches, including an excellent win against Russian Boxing Team last week.

Cuba have already won Group A which means they will qualify directly to the semi-finals, while Ukraine currently sit third in the group, two points behind Russia, and two ahead of Mexico Guerreros.

The team that finishes second in the group will enjoy home advantage in the quarter-finals, so Ukraine will be eager to secure victory in this match against the undefeated Cubans.

Ciudad Deportiva, La Habana is the venue for this Group A clash, where on Friday 24th April fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 20:30 (GMT -4) at

Undefeated 6-0 star Yosbany Veitia opens the evening for Cuba, and the number one ranked Flyweight (52 kg) has already earned a Rio 2016 Olympic Games quota through WSB.

This week he faces 3-2 Azat Usenaliev who is unbeaten at home this season, but has lost both of his away matches in Russia and Mexico.

Veitia won the bronze medal at the 2013 AIBA World Championships, and has excelled in WSB throughout the group stages, boxing 30 rounds and looking comfortable throughout.

Expect this to be an entertaining fight between two boxers with incredibly effective boxing styles.

Cuban Lightweight (60 kg) Lazaro Alvarez is also guaranteed to finish in the top two of his weight class, however the number two ranked fighter will want to make it 7-0 in the Regular Season against Ukraine’s 1-0 Viktor Slavinskyi.

Alvarez has dominated all three of his home matches in Season V, but Slavinskyi impressed in his WSB debut two weeks ago when he defeated the highly ranked Reda Benbaziz.

2012 Olympic gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo was expected to be one of the most successful Welterweights (69 kg) in WSB this year, yet two defeats in the Regular Season to Mohammed Rabii and Radzhab Butaev curtailed his hopes of achieving a Rio 2016 quota through this competition.

The Cuban bounced back in his last match with a home win over Mexico’s Héctor Andrés Reyes Anguiano, and searches for a second win in a row against 2-2 Oleg Zubenko.

Although Zubenko does not have a winning record this season, his two defeats came against the same fighters who beat Sotolongo, and the Ukrainian is on a two match winning streak.

A closer contest than many anticipated could be on the cards in this Welterweight tussle, which could be an integral result on the night.

One fighter who needs a more dominant victory is Cuba’s 5-1 Julio Cesar La Cruz who surprisingly lose a fortnight ago to Ecuador’s Carlos Mina.

The result pushed the Cuban down into third in the Light heavyweight (81 kg) rankings, and out of the Rio 2016 Olympic quota places.

La Cruz has to perform better this weekend than either Croatia’s Hrvoje Sep or top ranked Valentino Manfredonia to enter the top two at the last opportunity, but his week 14 opponent could be his toughest of the season to date.

Ukraine’s 4-1 Oleksandr Khyzhniak is ranked fourth at Light heavyweight, and his lone loss was a tight split decision defeat to Russia’s Pavel Silyagin away from home.

That was Khyzhniak’s sole away match in Season V so far, with his four victories all emanating in Kiev.

Khyzhniak has nothing to lose heading into this contest, while La Cruz is one of the most fluid and skilful fighters in the entire competition.

The very fact that La Cruz has to win may give him the edge, but if the pressure grows too strong then Khyzhniak is more than capable of punishing any mistakes.

Cuba’s 5-1 Lenier Eunice Pero is ranked second at Super heavyweight (91+ kg) but only one Rio 2016 quota is available from the heaviest weight class in WSB.

Four points behind Croatia’s dominant Filip Hrgovic heading into the last week of action, Pero needs a stoppage or a unanimous decision victory against Ukraine’s Ihor Shevadzutskyi to maintain any hopes of overtaking Hrgovic.

Shevadzutskyi will have the power advantage in this contest after stopping his last two opponents, while Pero’s six fights have all gone to points.

The Cuban is an excellent boxer however, and is one of the quickest fighters in the division which may be his key weapon across the five rounds.