A superb display from Ukraine Otamans saw Cuba Domadores suffer their first defeat of Season VI in Kharkiv on Saturday night. In contrast, this was a third straight win for the in-form Ukrainians, sending them to the top of Group A with three preliminary-round matches to go.
Defending Ukrainian Flyweight Champion Maksym Fatych won on a dramatic WSB debut earlier in the season, and added Cuba’s WSB Team Champion Yosbany Veitia to his growing list of big-match victims on Saturday after a brilliant opening bout.
The Otamans’ Viktor Slavinskyi was in equally determined mood as he faced off against three-time AIBA World Champion Lazaro Jorge Alvarez, but after a bright start his brave challenge faded. An incredible final round from Alvarez tipped the decision in his favour, and the Cubans were back on level terms.
Serhii Bohachuk started the third bout slowly against London 2012 gold medalist Roniel Iglesias, but some big uppercuts quickly brought the Ukrainian back into contention. Several clean lefts shocked the Olympic Champion in the fourth round and the judges confirmed Bohachuk’s brilliant display with a 2:1 points win.
Facing a rare defeat, Cuba’s virtuoso captain and three-time AIBA World Champion Julio Cesar La Cruz then stepped up to draw the match level with a typically controlled performance against Maksym Kots, deputising for Denys Solonenko. The tension was palpable as the super heavyweights went into the ring to decide the night, and it was a suitably close finish between Otamans’ Rostyslav Arkhipenko and Domadores’ two-time Pan-American Games winner Leinier Eunice Pero. Arkhipenko put in the performance of his life infront of his home fans, and some big right jabs in the third round tipped the bout in his favor, earning another close points win and a magnificent 3-2 triumph for the home side who now top Group A.