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Week 2 World Series of Boxing preview & Inaugural AIBA Pro Boxing championship matches

The best AIBA Pro Boxers are set to do battle to be the first Champions of the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) competition running from January 23 to February 19 for each of the 10 weight categories. Launched in October 2014, APB is a new competition based on individual rankings that offers elite boxers a new career opportunity as well as a new route to qualify for the Olympics, with a total of 20 quota places on offer to APB boxers.

APB is the first and only individual competition in the history of boxing that allows Pro Boxers to compete whilst retaining their Olympic eligibility, with Rio 2016 set to be the first Olympic Games in history with Pro Boxers competing.

The matches of the initial pre-ranking and ranking phases of the competition took place in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey – and provided many epic bouts, as well as often producing surprising results.

The APB Inaugural Champion contenders, per weight, are as follows:

  • LIGHT FLY 49kg (Foshan, China – 05/02): Zhonglin WU (China) vs Bin LYU (China)
  • FLY 52kg (Novosibirsk, Russia – 30/01): Misha ALOIAN (Russia) vs Elias EMIGDIO (Mexico)
  • BANTAM 56kg (Paris, France – 19/02): Khedafi Djelkhir (FRA) vs Alberto MELIAN (ARG)
  • LIGHT 60kg (Astana, Kazakhstan – 30/01): Berik ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) vs Hershid TOJIBAEV (Uzbekistan)
  • LIGHT WELTER 64kg (Novosibirsk, Russia – 31/01): Armen ZAKARYAN (Russia) vs Artem HARUTYUNYAN (Germany)
  • WELTER 69kg (Baku, Azerbaijan – 24/01): Onur SIPAL (Turkey) vs Rayton OKWIRI (Kenya)
  • MIDDLE 75kg (Istanbul, Turkey – 23/01): Adem KILICCI (Turkey) vs Artem CHEBOTAREV (Russia)
  • LIGHT HEAVY 81kg (Sofia, Bulgaria – 30/01): Ehsan ROUZBAHANI (Iran) vs Kennedy SAINT PIERRE (Mauritius)
  • HEAVY 91kg (Catania, Italy – 30/01): Aleksei EGOROV (RUS) vs Clemente RUSSO (ITA)
  • SUPER HEAVY 91+kg (Baku, Azerbaijan – 23/01): Mohammed ARJAOUI (Morocco) vs Erik PFEIFER (Germany)

Preview: APB Inaugural Title Matches

SUPER HEAVY 91+ KG – FRIDAY, JANUARY 23 at Location: Baku – Venue: Sarhadchi Complex

The two undefeated APB Super Heavyweights (91+ kg), Mohammed Arjaoui (MAR) and Erik Pfeifer (GER) will clash in Baku with the objective of winning the APB Inaugural Title Belt.

Pfeifer is a two-time AIBA World Championship bronze medalist, and started his APB career off with a dominant victory over Egypt’s Ahmed Samir. He followed that up in week two with a close points win over France’s Tony Yoka, and the German secured his part in the Inaugural Title Match during the Matches for Champions series, when he stopped Romanian Mihai Nistor in round three of the contest.

Mohammed Arjaoui also boasts an unblemished 3-0 APB record, and he began with a close victory over Ukrainian Sergiy Verveyko in week one. One win turned into two as he won on points against Mihai Nistor, and the Olympian made sure of his place in the title picture during week three as he defeated Tony Yoka on points.

MIDDLE 75 KG – FRIDAY, JANUARY 23 at Location: Istanbul – Venue: Caferaga Spor Salonu

Local hero Adem Kilicci (TUR) will fight  to offer his fans the APB Inaugural Title Belt this Friday. Kilicci has been one of the most impressive APB boxers so far in the competition. With an unblemished 3-0 record, he fought against Kenya’s Nickson Abaka, Hosam Abdin (EGY) and also Artem Chebotarev (RUS) his opponent for the Title.

Artem Chebotarev opened his account with a disqualification win against Ecuador’s Marlo Delgado, and then lost in week two against Kilicci. The Russian earned his ticket for the final by defeating Dmytro Mitrofanov in the Matches for Champions in a close match.

WELTER 69 KG – SATURDAY, JANUARY 24 at Location: Baku – Venue: Sarhadchi Complex

The APB Welter Inaugural Title Match will see the battle between Onur Sipal (TUR) and Rayton Okwiri (KEN).

2008 Beijing Olympian Onur Sipal is one of Turkey’s most promising boxing talents, and the 25-year-old has won all three of his APB matches so far against Eimantas Stanionis (LTU), Okwiri and Denys Lazarev (UKR).

In the first week of the competition, the Kenyan Rayton Okwiri shocked the world by knocking out one of the favourites for Welterweight glory, Austria’s Marcos Nader in round two of their fight. After his loss to Sipal in November, Kenya’s superstar rebounded magnificently to quality for the title bout when he won five of the six rounds against Russia’s Olympic bronze medalist Andrey Zamkovoy in December.

Preview: WSB Regular Season Week 2

Astana Arlans Kazakhstan seek win number two away to Rafako Hussars Poland

After their opening win in Season V of the World Series of Boxing (WSB), Astana Arlans Kazakhstan travel to Lubin, as they face Rafako Hussars Poland who are looking for their first WSB victory following a loss away in Puerto Rico.

The night begins at Flyweight (52 kg) and features Hamza Touba who featured for Team Germany last season now representing Poland against Olzhas Sattibayev who is one of the toughest members of the Astana Arlans squad.

Lightweight (60 kg) Polish fighter Dawid Michelus won the bronze medal at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and he fights former Kazakhstan National Champion Zakir Safiullin.

An intriguing clash at Welterweight (69 kg) follows between Northern Ireland’s 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Steven Donnelly who is competing for Poland this season, against Madiyar Ashkeyev, who achieved the performance of his life in September’s “Clash of Champions” as he beats Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo via split decision.

The penultimate fight is at Light heavyweight (81 kg) with Poland’s WSB veteran Mateusz Jerzy Tryc facing Croatia’s Hrvoje Sep who has amassed over 20 fights in this competition, including many wins for his Franchise Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.

Another Croatian representing Kazakhstan competes in the main event, as Filip Hrgovic who was ranked in the top three Super heavyweights (91+ kg) last season takes on Poland’s Pawel Wierzbicki who is a former AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships medalist.

Russian Boxing Team make their Season V debut against China Dragons

Following the postponement of their week one World Series of Boxing (WSB) match, Russian Boxing Team make their first appearance of Season V against China Dragons, who narrowly lost 3-2 to British Lionhearts in London, England last week.

This time the Dragons are at home with the Mangrovetree Convention Center the venue in Sanya.

The first fight of the night is at Flyweight (52 kg) and features the speedy Hu Jianguan against Russia’s Vyacheslav Tashkarakov who competed well in WSB last season.

Lightweight (60 kg) Chinese sensation Wang Lei reached the latter stages of many international tournaments during 2014, and he opens his account in this competition against Russia’s Adlan Abdurashidov who was the top Lightweight seed in Season II of WSB.

A former WSB competitor, Liu Wei returns at Welterweight (69 kg) for China Dragons against Radzhab Butaev who claimed an impressive win last season against Denys Berinchyk.

China’s Aolin Zhang is ranked in the top 15 of the AIBA Light Heavyweight rankings, and he will hope to impress in the same weight class in WSB when he squares off against Russia’s former national junior boxing Champion Vladimir Shishkin.

In the main event of the evening, the Super Heavyweights (91+ kg) are in action, with the powerful Wang Zhibao competing against Russia’s Gasan Gimbatov who is looking to fulfill his undoubted potential this season.

Ukraine Otamans and British Lionhearts bid to remain undefeated in Kiev

Group A in Season V of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) is packed full of world class Franchises, and both Ukraine Otamans plus their week two opponents British Lionhearts won their opening contests.

Ukraine return to the Acco International Exhibition Center, Kiev, which was the scene of their first round 4-1 win over Mexico Guerreros, while British Lionhearts travel away for the first time in WSB this season, after their 3-2 win over China Dragons.

The first match of the evening is at Flyweight (52 kg) between Azat Usenaliev of Ukraine Otamans, and two-time AIBA World Championships medalist Andrew Selby of Wales who is representing the Lionhearts this season.

Usenaliev had an impressive victory over Bakhtovar Nazirov in the quarter-final stages of WSB last season, while Selby has competed for Italia Thunder and British Lionhearts in the competition, and is undefeated in his WSB career so far.

The Lightweights (60 kg) are in action next, with Oleg Prudkyi who impressed in his WSB Season IV outings facing Joseph Cordina, who won the bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Welterweight (69 kg) Bogdan Shelestyuk of Ukraine has won many medals across his boxing career, and his week two opponent is England’s Haizel Ekow Tabiri-Essuman who has a very entertaining style in the ring, and always comes to win.

European Junior Championships silver medallist Oleksandr Khyzhniak is one of the youngest members of Ukraine Otamans, but the Light heavyweight (81 kg) will be full of confidence against Scotland’s Aston Brown who previously competed in Season III of WSB.

The last fight of the night is at Super heavyweight (91+ kg) between Ukraine’s Viktor Vykhryst who has many seasons of WSB experience and England’s Joseph Joyce, who won the bronze in his class at the 2013 European Amateur Boxing Championships, competed at the 2013 AIBA World Boxing Championships and won the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.