Astana Arlans Kazakhstan avoid the powerful Russian franchise in the playoffs thanks to a stunning 4-1 win over rivals Uzbek Tigers

Defending WSB team champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan triumphed in a winner-takes-all, top-of-the-table clash against Uzbek Tigers in Oskemen, Kazakhstan.

The two teams may have already both secured Season VI playoff places ahead of Saturday night’s match but Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s 4-1 win has the vital consequence of meaning they will avoid the strong-looking Russian Boxing Team in the first round of playoffs.

Kazakh national flyweight champion Azat Makhmetov was first on show for the home team. The debutant faced Uzbek Tigers’ Abrorjon Kodirov, who won on his previous WSB outing. Makhmetov, however, was on the front foot from the first bell and, backed by a stinging jab, the 24 year old won the first three rounds convincingly before Kodirov was forced to pull out injured.

For personal reasons Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s slated lightweight Zakir Safiullin pulled out of the contest. With his replacement Bekdaulet Ibragimov also unable to fight, the Uzbek Tigers’ Elnur Abduraimov was granted a walkover.

This meant that Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, who started the match behind the Uzbek Tigers on points, needed to win all the remaining three contests to finish first in the group.

Experienced WSB welterweight Aslanbek Shymbergenov was the first to take this task on. The 22 year old took on the highly rated Ukrainian teenager Makhmud Gaipov, winner of Europe’s biggest AOB international event, the Strandja Memorial Tournament, one month ago. Shymbergenov called on all his experience to defuse Gaipov’s biggest weapons and emerged as a relatively comfortable points winner.

Twice Kazakh national heavyweight champion Arman Rysbek has broad shoulders and settled in to his bout against 2011 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships gold medallist Shuhrat Abdullaev with relish. The Kazakh was rarely troubled in a points win.

It was left to Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s powerful super heavyweight Kamshybek Kunkabayev to finish the job. Thanks to his impressive footwork, the big man managed it, beating Uzbek Tigers’ Mirzohidjon Abdullaev in five rounds of entertaining action.