Astana Arlans Kazakhstan wrap up Season VII group stage with narrow 3-2 win over China Dragons

Two-time WSB Champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan rounded off an impressive group stage of Season VII with a fifth win of the campaign, finishing top of Group C. Their opponents, China Dragons, started the match confidently but ultimately the team didn’t manage to take advantage of their strong start to the season, suffering a fifth straight defeat to finish bottom with three points despite an excellent performance against the two-time champions.

The Dragons’ 22-year-old Flyweight (52kg) Zhang Guo replaced Chang Yong in the side to take on Anvar Muzaparov in the first of the night’s action, and took an early lead with some big combinations finding their target. Muzaparov looked to come in close and stifle his opponent at every opportunity, but it was Guo who was the more attacking throughout, holding on to the advantage to record a straightforward win.

The visitors were soon back on level terms, however, as the Dragons’ talented Wang Sen struggled to cope with the imposing figure of Astana Arlans’ Zakir Safiullin at Lightweight (60kg). Sen began brightly but Safiullin’s stamina shone through as he finished the stronger to earn the split decision. The in-form Hu Richabilige was the Dragons’ Welterweight (69kg) pick for the match, and he then put in a crowd-pleasing display to beat Arlans’ former Boxer of the Week Aslanbek Shymbergenov and give the advantage back to the hosts.

The Chinese TKO specialist Wang Lida replaced Shi Guojun at Light Heavyweight (81kg) for what was a tough WSB debut against Arlans’ unbeaten Arman Rysbek, and the Kazakh duly delivered a lesson in powerful boxing, immediately going on the offensive and unleashing a mighty right jab that ended the contest by KO before the end of the first round. With the scores tied, Super Heavyweight (+91kg) Olzhas Bukayev sealed the Arlans win after a superb bout was stopped by the Referee with China’s Wang Zhibao unable to continue, securing a 3-2 win for the visitors.