Ukraine puts on world class line-up against Italy

The 7,000-seater Sports Palace of Kiev is promised to an electric night this Friday 19 April (20:00 local time) when the full-strength Otamans will try to come back from their 1-4 away defeat to Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) semi-finals. Powered by superstar Vasyl Lomachenko and London 2012 bronze medallist Oleksandr Gvozdyk, the Ukrainians look confident enough to kick the defending Champions out of the competition.

Action will get underway at Bantamweight (50-54kg) with Ukrainian National Championships silver medallist Mykola Butsenko going toe-to-toe with former pro Daniele Limone. Butsenko has already won twice this season and will be determined to extend his record in front of his fans. His footwork and capability to keep the right distance are his trademarks. Limone, who was defeated three times so far, will therefore face a complicated task.

Two-times World and Olympic Champion, Ukrainian Lightweight (57-61kg) superstar Vasyl Lomachenko will then step onto the ring to face Thunder’s poster-boy Domenico Valentino. The two have never faced each other in WSB and this fight is anticipated to be the most exciting of the night. Most observers think that the unbeaten Otamans southpaw is sure to come on top, but Valentino will try to make the most of his experience to give a tough resistance and maybe shock the World.

Explosive action is expected at Middleweight (68-73kg) between hard-hitting Ukrainian Dmytro Mytrofanov and quick Frenchman Michel Tavaresrepresenting the Italian team. Mytrofanov has already proved that he is tailor made for the pro format of WSB. The 23-year-old Otaman has this season defeated boxing stars such as Fred Evans and William McLaughlin and is well known for putting pressure on his opponents from start to end. With 17 WSB fights under his belt, the very experienced Tavares will be a major test for Mytrofanov.

The second headline bout of the evening will come at Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) between Otamans’ Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Italia Abdelhafid Benchabla. The strong Ukrainian puncher, who brought a bronze medal from London last summer, is still unbeaten in his WSB career (7-0). But he will have to put a lot of strength in this fight against the experienced Benchabla (15-3), the Algerian being considered as one of the best Light Heavyweights the competition has.

In the last fight, at Heavyweight (91+kg), Ukrainian Rostyslav Arkhypenko is scheduled to fight against Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Tony Yoka. Arkhypenko, who lost three fights this season, will need to be at 100% to bring a fifth point to the Otamans. 20-year-old Yoka is known for his powerful right punch and brings to the team a considerable amount experience after two seasons in WSB. He will surely be going all out to re-affirm his credentials as a powerful fighter.

In case of draw on aggregate (Ukraine leading 4-1 after these five bouts), the decision will be made at Middleweight (68-73kg) with Olexandr Strets’kyy (1-1) facing London 2012 bronze medallist Vincenzo Mangiacapre (3-0)