Season V of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) is widely anticipated to be the greatest instalment of the world class boxing competition, with three news Franchises, plus two returning ones joining defending Champions Cuba Domadores and ten more teams competing to achieve team glory.
WSB is the only Global Team Boxing competition where national teams go head to head in a league format, and this season will see 16 teams compete in two groups of eight with the top three teams qualifying for play offs.
Group A consists of the current WSB defending champions Cuba Domadores, Season IV semi-finalists Russian Boxing Team, Season III runners-up Ukraine Otamans, the returning British Lionhearts, exciting Mexico Guerreros, durable Algeria Desert Hawks, plus two new Franchises, from China and Morocco.
With four continents represented in the group, many pugilism aficionados are excited about the all-African encounter between Algeria Desert Hawks, and newcomers Morocco Atlas Lions. With Algeria’s prior experience in WSB they will be wanting to assert themselves as the best African team in the tournament, but Morocco are being tipped to put together an impressive squad, and they will meet each other in week six, and week 13 of the season.
Defending champions Cuba Domadores were the number one seeds in the draw, which resulted in them starting the season at home, against Morocco in week one. The Cuban team lost just once in WSB in their debut season away to Russian Boxing Team in the group stages, and they will seek to avenge that loss in week ten this time around.
Russian Boxing Team reached the semi-final stage last season, in part due to their excellent home form, and they start the season at home to Algeria. Consistently excellent in WSB, the Russian Franchise are always contenders to win every match they compete in, and there are many within the boxing world who consider this to be their year.
British Lionhearts reached the quarter-finals in Season III, and after missing Season IV, they return to WSB with a team full of confidence and flair. Boasting many decorated medalists from a variety of international competitions, including eight medalists from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the return of the Lionhearts has resulted in much media attention in Britain, and they will be looking to start their season in style.
Mexico Guerreros were the Franchise to eliminate British Lionhearts in Season III, but failed to sparkle last season. As one of the proudest boxing nations in the world, they will be giving it their all to succeed in Season V, and after a tricky opening tie away in Ukraine, Mexico then have two home fixtures in a row against their African competitors, and will be hoping that a quick start will help them to qualify for the knock-out stages.
China Dragons are back in WSB after fielding the Beijing Dragons in Seasons I and II, and after much success in international boxing competitions over the last two years, their squad will be confident of causing upsets. There are no easy contests in WSB, but China’s start to the season is a particularly tricky one, as they will face Britain, Russia, Ukraine and Cuba in their first four matches.
Lastly, Ukraine Otamans have consistently qualified for the knock-out stages of WSB during their history in the competition, and they will be looking to reclaim the form they showed in reaching the Finals in the third season of WSB.