Home Amateur & Olympic World Series of Boxing week 9 wrap-up: Cuba sweeps Kazakhstan, USA defeats...

World Series of Boxing week 9 wrap-up: Cuba sweeps Kazakhstan, USA defeats Germany

Credit: AIBA

USA 3-2 Germany: Another Big win For USA Knockouts

While this wasn’t the result that either team would have wanted, nonetheless it is one that will suit them both just fine, given what happened in the rest of the Week 9 action.

With the Argentinians losing, but still taking a point from Algeria, their challenge is over. The Algerians at the same time weren’t allowed to close the gap on the USA and the last Playoffs position too much. The Germans meanwhile will be pleased as they stay a point ahead of the Knockouts, whilst still having a match in hand.

Bout of the match

Venezuelan Lightweight Luis Arcon Diaz and Team Germany’s Artur Bril put on an excellent performance for the crowd in Miami. Diaz is one of a number of young and emerging Venezuelan boxers that impressed at the AIBA World Boxing Championships last year. The South American had this said about him by the AIBA team in Almaty:

Lightweight Luis Diaz of Venezuela is proving to be quite a boxer. He graced the canvas in these Championships, he has beautiful form and excellent timing. During his bout with Elian Dimitrov of Bulgaria, he took the centre of the ring and seemed almost untouchable with the snake like movement of his head being too hard to predict. He stands with a low lead hand for much of the time, inviting the opponent in and then, finding the openings presented to him.

The description remains accurate, but his German opponent this time really pushed the Knockouts boxer. Light on his toes and with extremely fast hands and good reactions, Bril is a good find for the Eagles. In the end it was the Knockouts boxer who edged a wonderfully technical match that is well worth watching again on AIBAboxingTV.com

Boxer of the match

Welterweight Gabriel Maestre was the second Venezuelan boxer to turn out for the USA last night and he boxes in not a too dissimilar style from his compatriot. His opponent was the very talented Arajik Marutjan whose 1-3 record belies his abilities. The punch of the match was probably a left hook that Maestre gave his opponent that knocked him down in round two for an eight count. A clever counter puncher, Maestre is really yet another really good find for the Knockouts. The USA talent scouts seem to have specialized in finding absolutely brilliant but fairly unknown boxers, from all over the world, but particularly Latin America.

His style is interesting though because unlike a traditional counter puncher, Maestre comes forward with his lead hand low to invite the punch, then bobs and weaves his way into attacking positions. What is really unique though is that on the inside, he seems to change styles at will and become a front foot boxer. This really seems to slow his opponents down as they try to figure out an appropriate response, which gives him yet more space on the outside. It was a good win for the Knockouts new man, who takes his record in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) to 2-0.

The turning point

Serge Michel made his seventh appearance in the WSB at Light Heavyweight against the USA’s new Indian boxer Sumit Sangwan, who is just 21 years old. When the two met, the score was already 3-0. With the Walk Over at Super Heavyweight, the German needed to win to ensure his team could go home with a point. From the beginning, the difference in experience was apparent and the Indian boxer was taking a standing eight within the opening ten seconds of the first round. He recovered well and made good use of his jab to survive the round. He began to hold his own but was nailed early in the second when he was dropped again. The referee briefly allowed the action to continue but had swiftly seen enough. The German took the match with a TKO.

Fact/Stat of the match

At 2:41 of round two of our Light Heavyweight contest, with the clock counting down, our commentator pronounced “I think Sangwan is a pretty decent boxer”. Five seconds later, the Indian was on the canvas and it was all over by TKO. It just shows how unpredictable the sport of is. But if you want to check out this little bit of unfortunate timing you can do so on AIBAboxingTV.com.

Quote of the match

“I think Bril has been very good, don’t get me wrong. But Diaz has really caught the eye” – Our Commentator sums up the bout of the match nicely.

Wrap up

At Flyweight, Shawn Simpson and Hamza Touba had a bout that more closely resembled a judo match than a boxing one at times, with both fighters falling to the canvas in the clinch on numerous occasions. As a matter of fact, in a judo match, some of these would have scored quite nicely too. From a boxing perspective however, it was a scrappy, untidy affair and the American athlete took a tight decision to go 2-2.

Unfortunately there was a Walk Over at Super Heavyweight in the favour of the visitors which guaranteed the Germans a point.

Cuba 5-0 Kazakhstan

The score line was emphatic and the 14,000 or so home supporters in Havana were delighted. So did the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan coach Sergiy Korchynsky get it completely wrong last night? Actually we don’t think he did, and here is why…

Korchynsky achieved a number of aims last night. Firstly, he rested his first pick boxers for the difficult Playoffs ahead. The Cubans meanwhile, despite their prodigious talent, have the smallest team in the WSB; more or less being able to field just two boxers per weight group. The Cubans are not getting anywhere near as much rest as the top Kazakh boxers coming into the business end of the season. Boxing is a hard sport, in which recovery is vital to ensure optimal performance.

Secondly, he has now had a good look at the Domadores up-close and has five very good additional scouts with actual ring experience against them to bring back and share technical details with the rest of the team. On the other hand, the Cubans still haven’t really got a taste of what it’s like to box the Arlans first team.
Finally, this is the time of year to blood your up-and-coming fighters now that Playoff positions have been secured, so that they are experienced for ever greater responsibilities in seasons to come. The young Kazakh boxers in most cases held their own in the ring, and in some cases pushed their Cuban opponents quite hard. Psychologically, this will be great for them, because they know that this is as hard as it gets. The Cubans meanwhile will be left wondering, if this is what the reserves can do, what are the first team like?

Yosbany Veitia, the WSB’s undefeated number one ranked Light Flyweight was in stunning form again, but his opponent, 26 year old WSB debutant Temirtas Zhussupov caused him one or two surprises in the bout. The Kazakh boxer brought a lot of speed to the contest against his southpaw opponent and even knocked him down after catching the Cuban off balance at one point. Regardless of the eventual result, Zhussupov has proved himself to be a very handy boxer and if he can look after himself against the likes of Veitia, even taking the odd round off him by split decision, then the Arlans have got a great prospect on their hands for next season. Both boxers worked relentlessly but Veitia looked the cooler and more economical as it was he who took his fifth straight win in the WSB.

Boxer of the match

Erislandy Savon, the number one ranked WSB Heavyweight, maintained his perfect record against WSB debutant, 25 year old Arbek Abduganiev. As ever, Savon looked elegant in the ring, boxing from his orthodox stance and using the full repertoire of boxing techniques. To give his opponent his due, quite apart from being brave enough to take on one of the world’s top heavyweights on his debut, he was willing to get stuck in and take chances. He also had a good survival instinct, which was fortunate as he was put under considerable pressure for the whole bout. Not that it lasted long. Arlans Head Coach Korchynsky had seen enough by the end of the third round and pulled his man out. But perhaps he had seen enough in more ways than one…
The turning point

Light Welterweight Yasnier Toledo secured the win for the Cubans in the third fight of the evening against 21 year old debutant Ruslan Madiev. Again, as with the Veitia fight above, this one was not as straight forward as it should have been on paper. Both fighters quickly had a lot of respect for each other after some open exchanges late in round one and early in round two. Toledo, as we know from the 5-0 score line, was victorious in the end and he looked solid throughout, but in many ways the more positive performance was from Madiev, who mixed it up well with a world class athlete on his debut. Nonetheless, whilst it is easy to support the underdog, Toledo can only beat the boxer put in front of him and that is exactly what he did. This brought him to 3-1 in the WSB and lifted him to the number two ranked boxer in the category.

Fact/Stat of the match

Savon’s TKO victory means that of his five WSB bouts to date, three have ended with either TKO or KO. That is not a great stat for whoever faces him next.
Wrap up

Bantamweight Bagdad Alimbekov was the great hope for the Arlans. He came into this bout with a 7-1 record which included a win in last year’s tiebreaker of the Finals against Alexandr Riscan of the Ukraine Otamans. The tactical ideal for Korchynsky would probably have been for Alimbekov to beat Marcos Forestal, thus leaving the Domadores with a fear of the Arlans’ first team. Unfortunately that was not how things panned out for the Arlans. His opponent was able to use his reach advantage to keep him at bay for much of the bout.

Ramon Luis, the new number one ranked Middleweight in the WSB following his victory, had a real scrap with 22 year old Yerik Alzhanov. Unfortunately both men received cuts during the bout following an accidental clash of heads. The doctor advised the referee to call a halt to proceedings. Based on the points accumulated, the bout was awarded to Luis.

Algeria 3-2 Argentina: Hawks still in it!

The Algeria Desert Hawks secured a major victory at home against the Argentina Condors in Week 9 of the World Series of Boxing (WSB). The result kept their hopes alive, at least mathematically, of qualifying for the Playoffs. For the Condors however, the door out of the Regular Season has now been firmly shut.
The Flyweights (52kg), Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg), Light Heavyweights (81kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg) contested this match.

Bout of the match

Sofiane Tabi and Juan Velasco had a close fought and technical bout at Welterweight. The two orthodox boxers both came into the ring with negative records (0-3 and 1-4 respectively). This was however a good match-up and it was clear that they both had the intention of turning their luck around, which made for a great show. Tabi seemed particularly elusive with good head movement. He used a lot of leaning back and slipping to avoid shots rather than relying on footwork, but it worked for him. The Argentinian meanwhile was on the front foot from behind a changeable ill-disciplined guard, but he was offensive enough to keep the home fans quiet for much of the bout. It was Tabi who won in the end through what looked to be a more scientific approach to the bout. This took him to 1-3 and gave him an important first WSB win.

Boxer of the match

Fernando Martinez looked excellent in his bout at Flyweight against Mohamed Tamma of the Algeria Desert Hawks. The Argentinian came into the bout with an already impressive 6-3 record. This was however his first appearance of the season so far, which given his performance tonight, will be something of a disappointment to Condors fans. He was aggressive throughout and rocked the local boxer with an outstanding left hook against the ropes before overwhelming him in the corner for a referee stoppage. The speed and fluidity of this finishing combination will be worthy of the Condors highlight reel this year, and his new 7-3 record makes him one of the team’s top boxers.

The turning point

At Light Heavyweight, Hichem Kaalaour took on Argentinian debutant Patricio Pitto. Kaalaour had faced some pretty tough opposition against Germany’s Serge Michel and Italia Thunder’s Peter Mullenberg in his first two appearances in the competition. He got more space in this bout though and he took full advantage of it. Boxing from a southpaw stance with his hands down by his sides, the Desert Hawk enjoyed the home advantage and set the crowd alight with his snaking right jab and brilliant foot work. The physically much bigger Argentinian looked slow in the ring next to him. But as the bout wore on, the Hawks boxer was testimony to the famous fighting phrase coined by Royce Gracie that “smooth is fast” as he gracefully out-manoeuvred his opponent rather than relying on raw speed. There were a few moments where the Algerian needed to get his hands up a little more quickly when on the defensive, but overall this was a very stylish performance from a boxer who is still only 20.

Wrap up

Reda Benbaziz was in fine form against Brian Nuñez of Argentina. The Hawks fighter looked composed throughout. He was significantly stronger than his opponent and in many ways bullied him in the ring. The Argentinian was not interested in playing the victim however, and the bout quickly became very scrappy. The Hawks’ boxer floored the visiting Argentinian with a nice shot and was generally considered to be the more aggressive and cleaner boxer by the judges. This was great news for Benbaziz, but bad news for Nuñez who now goes to 0-4 in the WSB.

Hazma Beguerni made his debut for the Algeria Desert Hawks against the more experienced Facundo Ghiglione of the Condors at Super Heavyweight. The Argentinian came into the ring with a 1-4 record, but looked absolutely enormous and lean. He had a solid jab too and at times looked commanding. But the local boxer was more fluid and offered a greater variety of shots. The bout became a little scrappy as it wore on, and in the final round the Algerian boxer looked almost out on his feet with both men staggering with exhaustion back to their corners. It was an exceptional effort by both fighters but it was the Argentinian that took the win.

Poland 3-2 Mexico: Hussars rock the Guerreros

In a slick evening of boxing, the Hussars Poland delighted home fans with an outstanding performance against the Mexico Guerreros. The Battling Poles had been incredibly resilient all season in the toughest group the WSB has ever seen and whilst they had accrued points, and won bouts, they had yet to win a match.

Tonight’s victory, whilst a difficult blow for the proud Mexicans was nonetheless a delight for neutrals who have been following the league closely. Most felt that the Hussars tenacity and sheer never say die spirit that has brought them close to causing an upset so many times this season, must surely end in a positive result for the team…And finally it has.

Bout of the match

Juan Romero found himself involved in an awesome fight against Damian Kiwior. Both boxers stood very upright and worked from tight guards. The Pole wasn’t at all intimidated by his vastly more experienced opponent, and both athletes battered away at each other from the very beginning. With the crowd chanting the Pole’s name, the Hussars athlete began to really chase the win. It was a stunning upset of the kind of magnitude rarely seen in sports and more commonly associated with earthquakes. Romero had come into this bout 10-5 across all four WSB seasons, while the Pole was 0-3. Just looking at the tale of the tape between the two boxers you would never have expected the 20 year old Pole to tear up the canvas with his heavy shots and block-rocking punching in the way that he did. Indeed his percussive punching was so consistent that it should have earned him an audition as the drummer in the band that entertained the crowd in between bouts. It was exciting stuff and it will be well worth visiting www.AIBAboxingTV.com to watch the video.

Boxer of the match

Sylwester Kozlowski deserves to take the category this week for clocking up his first ever WSB win and taking his record to 1-5. The Bantamweight looked as resolute as a heavy metal against the young Brian Gonzales Morales of the Mexico Guerreros. He has battled stoically all season in the Group of Death, never once flinching, never once backing down and never once giving up. This victory has been a long time coming: since Week 1 of last season in fact. Thus for sheer tenacity and his never say die attitude, Kozlowski is our official Boxer of the match. Good work.

The turning point

With the score standing at 2-1 and the Hussars on the precipice of taking their first ever win, they could not have had a more perfect boxer to enter the ring than Tomasz Jablonski, to seal the deal at Middleweight. His opponent Enry Saavedra Pinto of the Mexico Guerreros found himself in a real war with a highly motivated and driven Hussars captain. The hard hitting Pole, with his skilful bobbing and weaving, was able to land hard body shots and hooks almost at will. Pinto hung on well though and proved himself to be a typically brave Guerrero. As our commentator Will Vanders said at one point “how Pinto didn’t wake up kissing the canvas? We will never know!” The Pole got better as the bout went on and it was he who took the win, bringing him to a positive record (4-3) for the first time since Week 8 of Season III.

Quote of the match

Our WSB commentator for this match was Will Vanders, and putting the pun back into punditry, he came up with this offering tonight:

“From here on out, Damian Kiwior shall be called the Kevlar Kid. He has a chin like mount Rushmore”.

Wrap up

Joselito Velazquez managed to squeeze out another WSB win against Dawid Jagodzinski of the Hussars Poland, which takes him to 2-2 in the WSB.

In the last bout of the evening, Tomasz Kowalski fought for the second time in the WSB against Christian Demaj of Albania who was turning out for the sixth time for the Guerreros. Neither boxer had yet managed to get a WSB win in their careers, and thus the bout was very important for both men. The Southpaw Albanian managed to edge it though in what was another huge personal triumph this evening.