The Russian Boxing Team represents one of the world’s strongest boxing nations, but despite some incredible showings in WSB competition since its inception, it has never taken the top prize. After finishing runners up to Italia Thunder in Season II, the following campaign saw them slip to a disappointing fifth place in Group A and fail to qualify for the knockout stages.
Bouncing back in Season IV with six wins out of ten, including the scalp of the mighty Cuba Domadores in the final match, the Russians finished in third place and went on to defeat the Ukraine 8-2 over two legs in the quarters. That win set up a return match against Cuba, but after losing 3-2 on home soil, the trip to Havana never looked like causing an upset, finishing 5-0 to the hosts and 8-2 on aggregate.
Drawn alongside Cuba and neighbours Ukraine in Season V’s Group A, the Russian team looked stronger than ever on paper, and managed 10 wins out of 14 to finish behind the Domadores. Having overwhelemed Italia Thunder in the quarter-finals, it was the Russian’s turn to be on the receiving end of a 9-1 scoreline as they were steamrolled by Astana Arlans, the side that went on to become champions.
Positives will have been taken from the performances of Vladimir Nikitin, Radzhab Butaev and Petr Khamukov, however, with all three gaining quota places for Rio 2016, while Adlan Abdurashidov was ranked a creditable third among the world’s best lightweights.