The teams of the World Series of Boxing last week discovered their opponents at the draw for Season V, which is due to start on January 15, 2015.
We gave some time to the team managers of Franchises to analyse their position within their group, and today we start a series of interviews to share with the audience of WSB their reactions to the draw results.
First of all, we contacted Mr Mounir Barbouchi, the General Manager of the new Franchise from Morocco.
Welcome to the World Series of Boxing Mr. Barbouchi! Firstly, what do you think of your group?
Our group comprises three to four big teams. We will need to fight hard to find our place amongst those renowned boxing nations. This will be our challenge. I count on the power and will of my boxers to achieve this. In the draw, there were 16 very good teams and everyone has a chance on paper, even if there are five to seven teams who are clearly leaders. But it is those teams with more freshness and the best strategy that will win.
You will face the current WSB champions, Cuba Domadores, in the first week of the competition. Is this more of a dream or a nightmare?
I think that every single boxer dreams to fight in Cuba, whose boxing school is one of the most famous across the world. So imagine what it represents to defy Cuba in their homeland in a worldwide competition. It is the dream occasion for our boxers to show their potential and their qualities. It is true that for a first participation and a first match, we face the world champions, and the step is high, but our motto is that to be part the best ones, you need to beat the best ones. It will be the first stage to gauge our boxers at the start of the season, and to evaluate where some of them stand.
What result are you hoping for for your Franchise?
It will be a first participation for us so what is essential is to look good, to offer quality and spectacle during the first 14 matches, and why not to envisage reaching the play-offs. For now, most teams start on an equal footing. Of course there are favorites, but also a number of outsiders, and the very reason to be an outsider is to surprise.
Do you think that a being a new team could offer you some advantages against your rivals, whose boxers are already known?
In boxing, it is dangerous to underestimate your opponent and against Morocco, that is certainly not the thing to do. Our boxers have true personalities and I am sure that some of them will soon be “known” too. I nevertheless think that we will sometimes lack a bit of experience but it is precisely to gain experience against great boxers that we participate in this competition.
The fate of the draw has provided WSB fans two North African derbies. What can be expected from these evenings between Morocco and Algeria?
The luck of the draw offers an incredible derby between two greats of African boxing – and neighbouring countries. I am convinced that these evenings will create tremendous interest in Morocco but also for the many Algerian and Moroccan fans living abroad, notably in Europe and America. I expect two big battles, with opposition of styles.
How will you prepare your team for the upcoming season?
We are in the ideal situation of having nearly six months to prepare our encounter against Cuba. I have asked the coaches to ensure a good physical condition to last long in the season. The team is working on this as we speak, and a particular emphasis is put on endurance, taking into account the fact that the duration of fights in WSB is longer than in AOB.