World Series of Boxing newcomers Uzbek Tigers underlined their Season VI huge potential on Saturday night as they defeated the reigning champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan in a stunning display in Tashkent. The Sport Complex of Uzbekistan was lit up by a brilliant show of boxing from the home side, who now have two crucial matches left in Group D including the return match at the start of April.
The Tigers’ Asian Champion Hasanboy Dusmatov got the hosts off to the perfect start with the speed of his attacks proving too much for Arlans’ Temirtas Zhussupov. With the crowd firmly behind him, Dusmatov was able to withstand Zhussupov’s late fightback and the hosts took a crucial 1-0 lead.
Abdulkhay Sharakhmatov had a tough challenge in the second bout in the shape of two-time WSB Team Champion Meirbolat Toitov, and the southpaw duo were soon locked in to a fascinating contest. After five gripping rounds the bout was decided by Sharakhmatov’s superior speed and powerful right jabs, earning a unanimous decision from the judges and doubling the home advantage.
Tigers’ Fazliddin Meliboev and Askhat Ualikhanov’s light welterweight bout proved equally tight, but the Uzbek National Champion took charge early on and refused to concede the upper hand, earning the judges’ decision and sealing the home side’s win in unexpectedly comfortable fashion.
Kazakhstan’s rising star Meirim Nursultanov managed to halt the home side’s dominance in the fourth bout with the narrowest of wins over the Tigers’ Hurshidbek Normatov. With the contest tied at 38:38 after four rounds, Nursultanov turned up the heat and put the Arlans’ first point on the board, but the recovery proved short-lived. Former AIBA Junior World Champion Mirzobek Khasanov rallied after a poor start against Yerkin Mukhametzhan, edging another close encounter between the two exquisite WSB teams and rounding off a superb night of boxing with a 4-1 home win.