Having negotiated two very different paths to the Semi-Finals of World Series of Boxing Season VI, Cuba Domadores and Uzbek Tigers prepare for one of the most exciting and unpredictable ties in the history of the competition. The two-leg match takes place in Havana on Thursday and Friday with the Tigers, in their first ever WSB campaign, hoping to overcome Season IV champions and last year’s beaten finalists, Cuba Domadores.
The Cubans have been in imperious form in 2016, with only a surprise Week 7 defeat to Ukraine Otamans preventing a clean sweep of 5-0 wins, including a comfortable Quarter-Final victory over Mexico Guerreros.
The Uzbek Tigers also began their debut season in style with a 5-0 away win over Puerto Rico Hurricanes, and despite a defeat to Azerbaijan Baku Fires in Week 4, the side bounced back and topped Group D until a last-round defeat to Astana Arlans Kazakhstan saw them finish a creditable second. After taking both legs of their brilliant Quarter-Final against Russian Boxing Team 3-2, the Tigers will be ready to provide a stern test for the Domadores.
Central to the success of the Uzbek franchise has been light flyweight Hasanboy Dusmatov, who earned his WSB stripes in Season V for Ukraine Otamans. During that campaign, Dusmatov beat Cuba’s AIBA World Champion Joahnys Oscar Argilagos, and now boasts an enviable 10-0 record in the competition, having continued that form for his native country. Abdulkhay Sharakhmatov, Elnur Abduraimov and Fazliddin Meliboev were also unbeaten during the Group stage, with Rio 2016 qualifiers Shakhobiddin Zoirov and Murodjon Akhmadaliev shining against the Russians a fortnight ago.
The Cuban side is equally bursting with talent, including the three-time AIBA World Champions Julio Cesar de la Cruz and Lazaro Alvarez and reigning Olympic champions Robeisy Ramirez and Roniel Iglesias. With no weak weight class in their line up and home advantage on their side, Cuba Domadores may go into the Semi-Final as slight favourites, but nobody will underestimate the power and sheer determination of the Uzbek Tigers as they go for glory in their first ever WSB season. Boxing fans can certainly expect fireworks in the ring in Havana this weekend.