Home Amateur & Olympic WSB playoff results: Clemente Russo knocked out in 1st round

WSB playoff results: Clemente Russo knocked out in 1st round

Credit: AIBA

The World Series of Boxing (WSB) “Bad Boys”, the Azerbaijan Baku Fires threw down the gauntlet to the other teams in this first Season IV quarter-final match-up.

In an emphatic statement of intent, the Fires systematically picked the Season II Champions, the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder apart, leaving them in need of a miracle to salvage their season. As it stands, the Fires will progress to the semi-finals unless the Thunder can win all five remaining bouts in the return leg, and even then they will have to win an additional tiebreaker. Italia fans fear that it will be almost impossible.

Bout of the match

Azeri Bantamweight Magomed Gurbanov found himself in all kinds of trouble early on in round one against Khedafi Djelkhir of France who was boxing for the Italia Thunder. The Fires man found himself on his back after a colossal shot early in round one and for a while it looked like we would be on the verge of witnessing a major upset.

As the bout moved on however, the Azeri got himself back into contention and the Frenchman landed less frequently, whilst Gurbanov was able to put together some very fluid combinations. He hung in there to turn the bout around, and for sheer tenacity he deserves to be the Boxer of the match. But unfortunately he was piped to the post at the last moment and that accolade is reserved for…

Boxer of the match

… Abdulkadir Abdullayev, for his stunning first round knockout of World Heavyweight Champion Clemente Russo of the Italia Thunder. The Azeri dropped the great Italian at 2:36 of the very first round with an immense left hook to the body. This marked the first time in his 22 fight history in the WSB that Russo has been knocked out, meaning the London 2012 silver medallist now sees his record slip to 19-3.

Abdullayev meanwhile takes his record to 9-2 and proves he is one of the WSB’s top Heavyweights. Moreover, having won five of those nine wins by TKO or KO, and averaging at least one such stoppage a season for over the last 4 years in the WSB, he must now be considered a fearsome boxer indeed. What is truly exciting is that the Fires boxer is still only 25 years old. What a prospect that makes him!

The turning point

Middleweights Khaybula Musalov and Bogdan Juratoni both looked good in the ring at Middleweight. The Azeri made it almost impossible for the Italian to off-load his punches in the first three rounds, but came off the gas in round four after comprehensively dominating the opening phases. Juratoni was unable to capitalise sufficiently though on this slow down and it was Musalov who walked out with the win.

Fact/Stat of the match

The Italia Thunder have the best home record in the WSB history, having now won over 100 bouts at home, and never having lost a match. To turn this quarter-final around in the second leg, they will need to draw on that record and produce a perfect performance, including winning a tiebreaker bout.

Wrap up

Mark Barriga of the Italia Thunder was unfortunate to see his night end as early as round two because of a cut stoppage caused by a big right hand from Khamza Nametov of the Baku Fires. The result was a good one for the Azeri, as Barriga had been seen as the Light Flyweight discovery of the season. Nametov, who now goes 3-1, with his only loss to Yasnier Toledo of Cuba, now stamps his own claim on that particular title.

Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev looked confident against Renato De Donato and secured a comfortable looking victory to take him to 4-1 in the WSB. The Azeri of course came to prominence after beating the Cuban Yasnier Toledo in Week 5. After slipping up in Week 9, this now gets him back on track. It will be interesting to see how his career develops from here.

Germany 2-3 Kazakhstan: Arlans ease ahead

The Astana Arlans Kazakhstan came one step closer to defending their World Series of Boxing (WSB) Champions title when they defeated Team Germany away from home.

The Germans managed to get a proverbial foot in the door however by winning two bouts. This could be crucial if the team wants to progress to the next round as they go into the second quarter-final leg next weekend in Kazakhstan.

Bout of the match

Artem Harutyunyan put on an excellent display of boxing against Askhat Ualikhanov of Kazakhstan at Light Welterweight. The young German boxer first popped into international consciousness last October, following an outstanding performance in the AIBA World Boxing Championships, which somewhat ironically was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Since then he has notched up two wins in the WSB with his only loss coming to London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Denys Berinchyk in his debut. For his part, Ualikhanov made it an interesting bout by doing enough to take round three and physically pushing the German to borderline exhaustion in his bid to prevent his first ever WSB loss. However, unfortunately for the Arlans man, it was not to be and his record slides to 3-1. Harutyunyan now goes to 2-1.

Boxer of the match

Vasilii Levit continues to impress at Heavyweight, with only WSB number one ranked boxer Erislandy Savon of Cuba having done enough this season to stay ahead of him. Still, Levit has clocked up five wins this season, including one over top-rated Abdulkadir Abdullayev. It was always going to be a tough ask for his opponent Artur Mann, the German number two, to unseat him tonight.

Levit showed his now usual but still astonishing grace for such a big man and the full repertoire of boxing strikes that make him so difficult to defend against. As spotted by the commentator, if he lacks one quality, it is perhaps demonstrable knockout power, which is something that Savon possesses in abundance. But Levit is a smart boxer that outguns his opponents in frequency of shots thrown and landed, and that so far has been enough. More than enough in fact.

The turning point

Cometh the hour cometh the man. With the Kazakh team 2-1 down to the Germans, the Arlans pushed the boxing equivalent of the nuclear button and sent in Ukrainian athlete Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the most successful WSB boxer in the four year history of the competition. The 23 fight veteran has only lost one bout in his WSB career, which was exactly a year ago in last season’s quarter-finals against the Argentina Condors and Brian Castaño.

It was a comfortable points’ victory for the great Derevyanchenko over the young Denis Radovan of Germany. The 21 year old deserves credit for the way in which he approached the bout however. As noted in the preview, he came to the ring with nothing to lose and leaves it having hung tough with the best boxer in the category. That has to be good experience for him going forward. The 2010 Youth World Championships bronze medallist slips to 3-2 in the WSB.

Fact/Stat of the match

How close is Vasilii Levit to being the WSB’s number one Heavyweight? Well he and Erislandy Savon have both won the same number of bouts this year (five), neither have lost any, therefore the only thing separating the two is the fact that Savon has won two by TKO and one by KO, whereas Levit has just one TKO thus far. How much do we want to see these two fight? A lot…Actually an awful lot! Both teams will need to make it to the Finals for that to happen though. Neutrals will be keeping the fingers crossed for that one.

Wrap up

Ovidiu Berceanu took on Temirtas Zhussupov of the visiting Arlans at Light Flyweight in what turned out to be a straight forward affair for the visiting team with the Kazakh winning every single round on all three judges’ score cards. This was his first win in the WSB, taking him to 1-1. Berceanu meanwhile slips badly into the negative at 0-3.

Ireland’s Michael Conlan put in a stunning performance at Bantamweight for Team Germany against Meirbolat Toitov. The highly rated Kazakh boxer came into the bout with a 4-1 record against Conlan’s 1-1 record.

What that didn’t show of course was that Conlan also managed to bag a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games and his only loss in the WSB comes to fellow Celt, double World silver medallist and 2011 European Champion Andrew Selby of Wales (and the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder), and that bout was extremely close. Thus (as the Irish are fond of saying) Conlan “put manners” on the Kazakh, winning by a comprehensive points margin.

Russia 4-1 Ukraine: Door to semis opens for Russia

The Russian Boxing Team inflicted a huge blow on the Ukraine Otamans’ hopes of progressing to a second successive semi-final in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

Had the Ukrainians, who finished as runners-up last season, managed to secure just one more win, then they would go into next weekend’s second leg in a very solid position. Russia however seized on the home advantage to dominate the evening’s affairs in Moscow. This now leaves the lethal Russian side needing just two wins from the remaining five bouts, to secure their passage to the next stage of the competition.

Bout of the match

Vladimir Nikitin and Mykola Butsenko put on one of the most intense bouts we have seen in the WSB this year at Bantamweight. The southpaw Butsenko looked extremely assertive against the reigning World silver medallist. The orthodox Russian boxer however, operated in his usual style, using a tight guard, big right hand and lots of forward pressure to dominate the bout. He took to the centre of the ring and forced the Ukrainian onto the back foot. And in a wonderful contrast of styles, it was the front foot Russian who took the bout.

Boxer of the match

Denys Berinchyk of the Ukraine Otamans and Radzhab Butaev of Team Russia gave us another awesome bout at Light Welterweight. The taller Russian managed to disrupt the rhythm and flow of the much more experienced Ukrainian. As the London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, the Otamans boxer struggled stylistically with the reach of the Russian who prevented him from closing with his jab, before immediately clinching to reduce the time in Berinchyk’s ideal range. Despite a strong last round from the Ukrainian, Butaev did enough to hang on for the win. It was in reality quite the turn-up for the books, with the Russian claiming his first ever WSB win.

The turning point

Middleweights Artem Chebotarev and Dmytro Mytrofanov were the pick of the bunch on paper, and they didn’t disappoint in the ring either. Mytrofanov had a 10-2 record coming in, including a win in last year’s Finals, and had not been defeated since Week 1 of last year’s Regular Season in 2012. But Chebotarev has been impressive so far in his WSB career and he made excellent use of his reach advantage. If Berinchyk struggled with the taller fighter in the previous bout, then Mytrofanov at least put on a display of how to deal with one. Bobbing and weaving, changing the angles and keeping the fight in the mid-distance range, he cramped the space of the Russian. Yet the local boxer was still able to score sufficiently to prevent the Otamans boxer from getting into a groove. This proved dangerous for Mytrofanov and in the end, Chebotarev took the bout.

Fact/Stat of the match

In the last three bouts of the night, the Ukrainian boxers gave up 30 cm in height to their Russian opponents, who capitalised on the reach advantage.

Quote of the match

“Berinchyk is going to have to be a lot more circumspect with his choice of target, he is just throwing a lot of wild flailing shots at the moment” (round two) – WSB Commentator Simon Golding

Wrap up

Evgeniy Tischenko of Team Russia and Siarhei Karneyeu put in a classic Heavyweight battle. Coming into the bout, the Otaman from Belarus was unbeaten in the WSB with a record of 6-0, whilst the taller Russian was also unbeaten at 1-0. Although the Otamans boxer pressed relentlessly, the better accuracy and footwork of the Russian meant that he was out-pointed relatively comfortably.

David Ayrapetyan of the Russian Boxing Team took on Hasanboy Dusmatov at Light Flyweight. The two southpaw boxers were extremely focused and set the tempo for the evening’s later bouts. Neither boxer gave an inch across the three rounds. The Russian is a former World silver medallist and is the current Olympic bronze medallist. Dusmatov, who is an Uzbek boxing for the Ukrainians, caused his own turn-up for the books when he beat him.