Rafako Hussars Poland struggled once more to cope with the South American swagger of Caciques de Venezuela, suffering a 3-2 defeat in their World Series of Boxing Season VI opening match. It was a third straight defeat for the Hussars at the hands of the Venezuelans, whose management had reinforced their team during December’s Draft Pick with the likes of Riccardo D’Andrea, but even the experienced Italian couldn’t halt the Venezuelan march.
The early signs looked positive from the hosts, now led by one of WSB’s most well-travelled coaches Sergey Korchinsky. Dawid Jagodzinski was in attacking mood against Angelino Cordova in their opening light-flyweight bout, but he was unable to sustain the pressure, allowing the Venezuelan too much room from which to launch his combinations and earn the visitors an early lead.
That left high expectations on the shoulders of Hussars’ newcomer D’Andrea and he edged the opening round against Jose Diaz. The crowd’s growing optimism was to be short lived as the Caciques’ bantamweight talent landed a lethal right jab late in the second round to put the Italian on the canvas, forcing the referee to end the match. After knocking out an Argentine opponent, Elias Gonzalez, last season, Diaz is earning himself a reputation for landing big punches.
At 2-0 down, the Hussars were able to call upon another exciting draft pick, Germany’s light welterweight star Kastriot Sopa, to try and turn the match around. Eager to inflict an emphatic defeat, Caciques’ Luis Arcon went on the attack immediately. Sopa had little response in the opening rounds but as Arcon tired, the German grew in confidence, using all his experience to carve out a narrow win over the five rounds.
Pawel Ruminski was called upon to replace Polish welterweight star Tomasz Jablonski in Friday’s team, and his debut could hardly have been more testing against Rio 2016 Olympic Test Event winner Johan Jose Gonzalez and with his team 2-1 down. Despite a battling performance, Ruminski was unable to cause an upset, and the Caciques took an unassailable 3-1 lead on the night.
It may have been a dead rubber in terms of the match, but the final heavyweight bout between the hosts’ Michal Olas and Caciques’ Colombian import Deivis Julio brought a morale-boosting win for Rafako Hussars. Struggling early on, Olas bravely fought his way back into the match, knocking his opponent down in the third round and giving the crowd something to cheer on a difficult night for the Poles.