Kazakhstan upsets the Guerreros on El Zócalo (2-3)

Astana Arlans Kazakhstan have probably done the hardest in winning their World Series of Boxing (WSB) semi-final first leg away to the Mexico Guerreros, on the iconic El Zócalo. The Kazakhs are now three bouts away from the WSB Team Finals, which will be held on 10/11 May at the Saryarka Velodrome in Astana.

Mexican Bantamweight (50-54kg) Elias Emigdio was unbeaten before going toe-to-toe against Meirbolat Toitov. El Tornado tried to control the bout and operated with loads of punches, but not so many reached the target while Toitov’s counter-attacks were more efficient in the opening three minutes. The Kazakh then found the best distance during the second round and won the following two. Bantam No.1 Emigdio tried everything in the final frame but his efforts were not enough to escape from this major upset.

Having replaced Lightweight (57-61kg) superstar Juan Romera at the very last minute, 18-year-old Guerreros’ Luis Daniel Flores Norberto was given an extremely tough introduction to WSB against experiencedYerzhan Mussafirov. The teenager demonstrated his impressive strength of mind in the opening round, operating with efficient quick combinations. After he found the good rhythm in this bout, Flores proved that he is the new Mexican diamond, winning four of the five rounds to equalize for Mexico.

The third battle of the night came straight at Middleweight (68-73kg) with local Marvin Cabrera expected to give an important lead over the Central Asians. The 19-year-old Mexican was fighting against WSB newcomer Abuyazit Ugurchiyev. After a first tactical round, Ugurchiyev tried to dominate the second frame while Cabrera’s best moments came in the third round when he decided to attack more aggressively. Their even bout ended on the closest possible margin in favour of the Mexican who keeps his record straight (6-0 this season) and remains on top of his weight category’s individual ranking.

Isaac Muñoz is the Mexican Guerreros’ best Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) this season with a 5-1 record before his contest against Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s Hrvoje Sep. The Croatian is also one of the biggest names in the division with more international experience than his rival. Sep started with an aggressive style, trying to eradicate the height difference between him and his taller opponent. Muñoz found a better distance in the second three minutes but the Croatian was able to use his excellent footwork to offer a second victory for Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.

With the match tied in at 2-2 before the Heavyweight (91+kg) clash, El Zócalo got all thrilled for a decisive Gerardo Miguel Bisbal vs. Filip Hrgovic. The Guerreros Puerto Rican opened better than the Croatian, leading after the first three minutes. But 21-year-old Hrgovic was then able to win all the remaining rounds, including an impressive third.

Astana Arlans Kazakhstan are now in the best possible position before the return leg Saturday 20 April at the Almaty Towers Business Center. In case of a draw on aggregate, this match will be decided by a Lightweight (57-61kg) tiebreaker.