Miami is the venue for the hotly anticipated WSB Season VI Group B opener between USA Knockouts and British Lionhearts on Thursday evening, as the two World Series of Boxing stalwarts look to get their seasons off to a winning start in what is set to be an electric encounter at the Miccosukee Sports & Entertainment Dome.
USA Knockouts won their opening three matches of Season V before tailing off towards the end of the campaign, while the Lionhearts’ won 23 out of 70 bouts in Group A and finishing seventh. The Knockouts were busy during the Draft in December, however, and the revitalised squad will prove a huge challenge for the British to overcome on US soil.
Nico Hernandez was one of the stars for USA Knockouts in Season V, and the light flyweight will need to be at his very best if he is to beat Britain’s European Confederation Boxing Championships silver medalist Harvey Horn. Two red-hot bantamweights Shakur Stevenson and Peter McGrail emerged from the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships with both of their reputations enhanced, and the bout is set to be a highlight of the evening.
Gary Russell secured his place on the Knockouts’ team this season by winning the US National Olympic Trials at the end of last year, and he faces Lionhearts’ Pat McCormack, who is looking to leave his mark on the competition and push for an Olympic place. Another US Olympic Trials winner, Charles Conwell, will face Troy Williamson in the middleweight bout, with the Brit staking his claim on Anthony Fowler’s place in the Lionhearts’ squad.
One of the more experienced US boxers, Cam F. Awesome recently switched down a class to heavyweight, a move that paid immediate dividends as he also chalked up a first place at the Olympic Trials. He will be closing out the evening against British Lionhearts’ rising star Lawrence Okolie, who clearly has the talent to cause what could be a match-winning upset.
WSB Group C opener sees reinforced Rafako Hussars Poland host Caciques Venezuela in Warsaw
Following last weekend’s thrilling curtain-raiser in Istanbul, World Series of Boxing Season VI continues on Friday night as Rafako Hussars Poland take on Caciques Venezuela at the Hala Znicz Pruzkow stadium in Warsaw.
The home side had a tough time in Season V, but a valuable middleweight treasure was unearthed along the way in the form of Tomasz Jablonski, whose brilliant 6-1 record qualified him for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Last season also saw the debut of their opponents for Friday, Caciques Venezuela. The South Americans created quite a stir, winning eight out of fourteen matches on their way to finishing fourth in their group, only missing out on qualifying for the knockout stages by the narrowest of margins.
The Polish outfit made its intentions for the new campaign perfectly clear at December’s Draft in Lausanne, strengthening the squad with the likes of Italian bantamweight Riccardo D’Andrea and Germany’s European Games light welterweight bronze medalist Kastriot Sopa. D’Andrea will face Venezuela’s Jose Diaz in Warsaw, while Sopa will need to be on top form to beat the visitors’ American Confederation Boxing Championships silver medallist Luis Arcon, winner of three intense WSB matches during Season V.
The night will get underway with what is set to be a spectacular opening bout between the home side’s talented light flyweight Dawid Jagodzinski and Angelino Rafael Cordova, winner of the Francisco Morochito Rodriguez Tournament in November. With Poland’s middleweight star Tomasz Jablonski disappointed to be missing out through injury, Pawel Ruminski comes into the side for what will be a tricky WSB debut against Johan Jose Gonzalez, silver medalist at the recent Rio 2016 Olympic Games Test Event.
Rounding off the night will be Rafako Hussars Poland’s Michal Olas, moving back to his preferred heavyweight class, and Caciques Venezuela’s hard-hitting Colombian Deivis Julio Blanco, gold medal winner at the 2013 American Confederation Boxing Championships.