One of the most eagerly awaited matches of the Season VI Quarter-Finals sees Russian Boxing Team host Uzbek Tigers in the city of Ulyanovsk on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Russians were the only team to finish the preliminaries with a 100% record, while the Tigers have made a hugely impressive start to their WSB story, leading Group D until the final week to ensure a Play-Off place at the first attempt. The Uzbek side has the strength in depth to push the Russians all the way, but here are some of the key battles that could make or break the tie:
49 kg – Bator Sagaluev (RUS) vs. Hasanboy Dusmatov (UZB)
Russian Boxing Team’s 24-year-old Bator Sagaluev won gold at the 2015 European Games and has been undefeated so far this campaign, defeating Venezuela’s Yonny Calderones and Argentina’s Nicolas Alfonso to help his team to the Play-Offs. With a reputation for exquisite right hooks and TKO wins, the home crowd will be baying for the light flyweight to deliver the goods once again.
Sagaluev’s opponent, however, is ASBC Asian Champion and 2016 Olympic qualifier Hasanboy Dusmatov, who boasts an unbeaten 9-0 record in WSB having previously boxed with Ukraine Otamans. Dusmatov won the previous encounter between the pair three years ago, and could repeat the feat in Russia.
69 kg – Albert Karibian (RUS) vs. Shakhram Giyasov (UZB)
Russian Team’s Albert Karibian is a promising young boxer who defeated Rafako Hussars Poland’s Damian Kiwior on his WSB debut in Szczecin earlier this season and then maintained an unbeaten record with wins over Argentina Condors’ Maximilian Ocampo and Venezuela Caciques’ Victor Pinango.
The welterweight will have to overcome one of the most improved boxers in the category, Uzbek National Champion Shakhram Giyasov, a man who, despite having to make his WSB debut in this high-pressure situation, has enough international AIBA Open Boxing experience to trouble the home boxer, including gold at the recent AIBA Asia and Oceania Olympic Qualification Event in Qian’an.