Stankovic and Italia Thunder shock Ukraine Otamans (4-1)

The first battle of these World Series of Boxing (WSB) semi-finals ended on a surprisingly large victory for defending Champions Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder against strong Ukraine Otamans at the Casino Campione in Campione d’Italia.

The evening started at Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) when Hungarian lethal weapon Imre Szello stepped onto the ring to face Otamans’Denys Solonenko. After a tactical first round, Szello dominated the second three minutes making the most of quick counter-attacks. Thunder’s right hooks were dangerous in the third round and all of these efforts resulted in a clean advantage after nine minutes. Well known for his habit to finish his bouts quite impressively, Szello didn’t even need to accelerate this time due the big difference between the two boxers.

Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder’s Middleweight (68-73kg), William McLaughlin, was much more experienced than his rival Ievgenii Barabanov. The Irishman tried to use all of his tactical skills, but the Ukrainian was very motivated and landed a lot of punches. However McLaughlin was able to turn the heat up in the third round to take a decisive lead against the Ukrainian National Elite Champion. The home fighter remained concentrated enough until the final gong to give another point to his team.

Up next at Lightweight (57-61kg), Branimir Stankovic and Denys Berinchyk offered an amaing spectacle to the crowds. Although Stankovic started very well, the Ukrainian punches became much more precise when the middle of their bout came. The home boxer was then able to found a second breathe to tie the debates after twelve minutes. A wonderful right from Stankovic opened the last round in which the Serbian showed himself fresher than Berinchyk. That was enough to confirm Stankovic’s best performance ever.

At Bantamweight (50-54kg), Jahyn Vittorio Parrinello was more experienced than his opponent Viktor Gogolyev and his sole WSB contest to date. Gogolyev was given a very tough task following the Italians 3-0 lead. Hetried to control the contest but Parrinello’s counter-attacks were more efficient. Although the Ukrainian never gave up and landed some strong punches, Parrinello’s longer hands made the decision.

While the Italians were walking on a perfect pathway, the last contest bout of the night opposed Matteo Modugno to World and Olympic ChampionOleksandr Usyk. Although the Italian started aggressively, his opponent controlled the bout from the second minute. The Referee stopped the contest in the second round and declared Usyk winner by TKO.

After this 1-4 defeat, Ukraine Otamans are now entitled to a perfect match next Friday at the 7,000-seater Sports Palace in Kiev. In case of a draw on aggregate, this match will be decided by a Middleweight (68-73kg) tiebreaker.