The first bell of the new World Series of Boxing season sounds this weekend, heralding what looks set to be the most hotly contested competition since WSB began in 2010. With the arrival of two new teams, Türkiye Conquerors and Uzbek Tigers, this year’s WSB sees 16 teams and a host of exciting young boxing talent all in pursuit of a precious place in the grand finals on 20-21 May.
“The success of WSB is down to its boxers, the commitment of the franchises, the support of our broadcasters and partners and, ultimately, the fans. We have seen a consistent growth in our fanbase over the last five years, illustrating the development of this unique team-format competition that espouses the true values of our sport”, said WSB Chief Executive Officer and AIBA Executive Director Karim Bouzidi.
The draw saw debutants Türkiye Conquerors pitted against the outstanding Season IV winners Cuba Domadores in Group A, with fellow newcomers Uzbek Tigers facing last season’s champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan and the equally powerful Azerbaijan Baku Fires in Group D. The Conquerors now have the honour of opening Season VI against China Dragons in Istanbul on Saturday night, with the match streamed live on the WSB YouTube channel, along with every WSB bout this season (see worldseriesboxing.com for schedule).
Several franchises used the annual Draft in Lausanne in December to strengthen their squads with overseas talent. Mexico Guerreros, Puerto Rico Hurricanes and Rafakao Hussars Poland were all highly active, with the Hussars bringing in Irish star Patrick Barnes and Germany’s talented Florian Schulz. The USA Knockouts stated their intentions by landing the services of India’s Gaurav Bidhuri and seven more boxers.
Season V provided seventeen boxers across all weight classes with quota places at Rio 2016, and Season VI will offer another potential Olympic route with places at the APB/WSB Olympic Qualification Tournament in May also up for grabs.
Cuba Domadores, Ukraine Otamans, China Dragons, Türkiye Conquerors
Mexico Guerreros, USA Knockouts, British Lionhearts, Morocco Atlas Lions
Russian Boxing Team, Rafako Hussars Poland, Argentina Condors, Venezuela Caciques
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, Uzbek Tigers, Azerbaijan Baku Fires, Puerto Rico Hurricanes