A marvelous 5-0 first leg victory for Russian Boxing Team in Moscow has put the decorated Franchise at a huge advantage heading into night two of their World Series of Boxing (WSB) quarter-final with Italia Thunder.
The result on night one was bad news for Italy who have to win every bout in this leg, but they have recovered from tough situations in WSB before, and will be relying on their excellent team spirit to try and turn the tie around.
As things stand, Russia require just one victory to take them through to the last four where they would meet Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.
Ray Just Arena, Moscow is the venue for this quarter-final clash, where on Monday 11th May fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 17:00 (GMT +3) at AIBABoxingTV.com.
The second leg begins at Flyweight (52 kg) as Russia’s Karen Arutiunian meets India’s 3-2 Gaurav Bidhuri.
Arutiunian made his first appearance of the season in the last week of the group stages where he suffered a wide defeat to Morocco’s Achraf Kharroubi, while Bidhuri has won three matches already in Season V, but lost his lone away bout against USA’s Brent Venegas III.
Expect this match to go to points as both competitors rely on skill and guile rather than power, and this should be a very entertaining clash to open proceedings in Moscow.
Russian Lightweight (60 kg) Artur Subkhankulov also lost his opening WSB match in week 10 of the competition, but it was a close split decision setback to Cuba’s undefeated Lazaro Alvarez.
The opponents do not get any easier however, with a battle against Italy’s 2-1 Donato Cosenza, who defeated Kazakhstan’s Roman Chshegrinov in his last outing.
An important aspect to note is that Cosenza faded in the latter stages of his meeting with Chshegrinov, yet Subkhankulov finished the fight with Alvarez strongly.
A marvelous Welterweight battle follows between 6-0 Radzhab Butaev and current Italian National Champion Alfonso Di Russo.
Butaev defeated a wide range of boxers in the group stages, including Olympic gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo, and looks for his seventh successive win against Di Russo.
A Light heavyweight (81 kg) fight could be the penultimate match in Moscow, and both Eduard Yakushev and Italy’s Simone Fiori are making their Season V debuts.
The last official bout of the evening is a Super heavyweight (91+ kg) shootout between Russia’s 3-1 Maxim Babanin and Italy’s 3-2 Guido Vianello.
Babanin produced one of the best performances of the campaign when he took the undefeated record of Joseph Joyce in London, but he has a tough night in store against Vianello, who has excelled away from home this season with two excellent wins over Cam F. Awesome and Leonardo Taborda.
Both men carry power, and if there are still ramifications for the overall contest as the first bell rings, we may be in for a very quick and entertaining fight.
If there is a need for a tiebreak after all five matches, 0-1 Avak Uzlian and Italy’s Fateh Benkorichi will meet at Light welterweight (64 kg) in a decisive match.