The Xiamen’s Sports School Gymnasium witnessed the Leg 1 of the World Series of Boxing Season VIII Finals where the Cuba Domadores earn a slender 3 – 2 win over the WSB defending champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.
Light Fly (49kg) – Zhussupov in control
The opening contest was always going to be crucial as both sides wanted to start well, and light flyweights Temirtas Zhussupov (KAZ) and Damian Arce (CUB) put on a blockbuster show for the packed crowd. Zhussupov started brightest, repeatedly finding the target and keeping Arce under control from the distance. The Cuban became more aggressive on the second round trying to work his way back into the bout, but an experienced Zhussupov never allowed him to turn the situation controlling each of the five rounds to improve his WSB record to 14 – 6.
Bantam (56kg) – Dreamed WSB debut for Osvel Caballero
The surprise of the night came early with the incredible first-ever WSB performance of Osvel Caballero (CUB) defeating Kazakhstan’s Ilyas Suleimenov on the second bout of the night. Suleimenov, who saw his hand raised in his last 5 WSB matches, was caught by the frenetic rhythm of the Cuban boxer who finally got an unanimous decision win for Domadores.
Light Welter (64kg) – Imperial Andy Cruz keeps his unbeaten 16 – 0 record safe
To talk about Andy Cruz (CUB) is, probably, to talk about the best light welterweight boxer on the planet. Cuba’s 23 year-old World and Pan American champion Cruz was once again brilliant to watch against Kazakhstan’s Dilmurat Mizhitov, who himself had been in sparkling form during Season VIII. Mizhitov fought valiantly to escape the Cruz onslaught, but it wasn’t enough for the judges, and the Caribbean squad advanced 2 – 1 in the general score.
Middle (75kg) – Amankul delights the Kazakh fans
The fourth match of the night saw Cuba’s Osleys Iglesias enter the ring against 2017 AIBA World Championships silver medalist Abilkhan Amankul (KAZ). The Cuban boxer was ready for WSB Finals, but his opponent was too strong. With a 9-0 record in the World Series of Boxing, it didn’t take long for Amankul to find his rhythm and range, repeatedly breaching Iglesias’ defenses with some excellent variety to earn a unanimous point win.
Heavy (91kg) – Savon gives the Leg 1 victory to Domadores
Another Cuban World Champion, Erislandy Savon (CUB), looked back to his virtuoso best against Kazakh Nurbol Altayev at the heavyweight category. The dangerous and skillful Cuban giant exploited his longer reached and speed to carve out an early advantage leading to a well-deserved victory that gives the Cuba Domadores the lead on the battle for the WSB Trophy.
The Leg 2 of the Season VIII Finals will take place on September 28 in Jinjiang where the remaining five weight classes (C2) will battle to define the WSB Season VIII Champion.