The two teams meet again in Moscow at the same stage this week and both are in tremendous form, with Russia enjoying a 25-0 record at home, while Cuba have won all nine of their fixtures this season.
Sports Palace “Wings Of The Soviets”, Moscow is the venue for this Group A clash, where on Friday 20th March fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 20:00 (GMT +3) at AIBABoxingTV.com.
Cuba’s Yosbany Veitia tops the WSB Flyweight (52 kg) rankings after four consecutive victories, and meets Russia’s Ovik Ogannisian who makes his first appearance of the season.
The top two ranked Light flyweights at the end of the Regular Season will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and with just two matches to go Veitia is four points ahead USA’s Brent Venegas III who is his nearest rival.
Lazaro Alvarez is ranked second at Lightweight (60 kg), and is two points behind the current leader Albert Selimov.
Cuba’s Alvarez is 4-0 this season, but all of his matches have finished either on points, or by walkover.
To catch Selimov, and definitely secure qualification for Rio, he will need an impressive performance against Russian debutant Artur Subkhankulov.
Russia’s Radzhab Butaev has dominated the Welterweight (69 kg) division this season, and sits at the top of the rankings in that weight class.
With nearest rival Mohammed Rabii competing on Thursday for Morocco Atlas Lions, Butaev will be keen to assert his dominance but faces a difficult challenge when he meets London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo.
The Cuban lost in Morocco two weeks ago to Rabii, and knows anything other than a win against Butaev will spell the end of his Olympic qualification dreams via WSB.
That fact makes this clash incredibly important for both Welterweights, with the winner taking a giant step towards Rio 2016.
Another aspiring Olympic star competes at Light heavyweight (81 kg), where the number one ranked Cuban and two-time AIBA World Champion Julio Cesar La Cruz meets Russia’s WSB veteran Gamzat Gazaliev.
La Cruz is level on points with the second ranked Italian Valentino Manfredonia, and just two points ahead of third ranked Hrvoje Sep so will be hunting a stoppage win in Moscow stay in control at Light heavyweight.
Number four ranked Super heavyweight (91+ kg) Lenier Eunice Pero will be keenly aware that there is only one Rio 2016 quota available from WSB in his weight class, and as he is four points away from top ranked Filip Hrgovic, he knows only a stoppage will do against Russia’s 2-0 Maxim Babanin if he is to have any chances of qualifying.