In search of a playoff place in Group B, the USA Knockouts have named a strong team, including Toronto 2015 Pan American Games gold medallist Antonio Vargas and 19-year-old lightweight sensation Carlos Balderas, for their match versus the Morocco Atlas Lions in Miami on Friday.
Vargas leads the home hopes in the Miccosukee Sports & Entertainment Dome taking on Achraf Kharroubi in a fascinating opening flyweight bout. While the Moroccan has already secured his spot for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the 19-year-old Vargas surprised many by failing to claim a qualification spot at the AIBA American Olympic Qualification Event in Buenos Aires in March.
There is no such worry for compatriot Carlos Balderas who sealed his 2016 place after winning four successive WSB fights in Season V. He takes on Morocco Atlas Lions’ Hamza Rabii, the younger brother of the AIBA World Champion Mohammed Rabii, in the lightweight division.
Victorious at the US National Olympic Trials, welterweight Paul Kroll will be keen to make up for his previous WSB performance, a disappointing home loss to Mexico Guerreros’ Francisco Armenta. The 20 year old will have his work cut out as he faces Morocco’s defending AIBA World Champion Mohammed Rabii, who went through Season V undefeated.
Fellow US National Olympic Trials winner Jonathan Esquivel will pit his skills against Hassan Saada in the light heavyweight bout. The US fighter enjoyed a winning WSB debut in Week 4, defeating Mexico Guerreros’ experienced Rogelio Romero.
Marlo Moore, the fourth US National Olympic Trials winner on the USA Knockouts team, takes on Ahmed Bourous in the super heavyweight class.
Just two points ahead of the Morocco Atlas Lions in Group C, it could be a nervy evening for the USA Knockouts and their fervent home supporters.