Like their Kazakh neighbours across the Caspian, Azerbaijan Baku Fires began their WSB journey with a semi-final defeat in 2011’s inaugural season, a result they repeated in Season II, whilst in Season III they fell at the quarter-final stage to Ukraine Otamans.
It was in Season IV that the Fires really found their form, brilliantly boxing their way to an awe-inspiring final against Cuba Domadores. Despite losing by the narrowest of margins, the team had planted itself among the very best of WSB, turning Baku into a fortress on the way to amassing a 28-7 record on home soil.
Indeed it was the 5-0 home demolition of the hot favourites Italia Thunder in the quarter-finals that allowed enough room for a 4-1 defeat in the return leg to not damage their ambitions, and then a 4-1 win over Kazakhstan that took them all the way to the finale, putting them in a strong position for Season V despite being drawn against those two same boxing giants in the group stages.
Clearly unfazed by their robust peers and led by a resurgent Albert Selimov, Baku Fires progressed with 10 wins in 14 Group B matches, setting up a quarter-final showdown with Mexico Guerreros. The in-form Magomed Gurbanov (56 kg), Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev (64 kg) and Parviz Baghirov (69 kg) were unable to provide the necessary lift to the team, however, with the 4-1 defeat in Mexico City proving too great a deficit to overturn on home soil.