Home Amateur & Olympic WSB results: Italy beats USA, Russia dominates Mexico, Cuba wins again

WSB results: Italy beats USA, Russia dominates Mexico, Cuba wins again

Credit: AIBA

USA 2-3 Italy: One bout changes face of Group A

In an intriguing night’s boxing in Miami, one bout changed the entire face of Group A, bringing the USA Knockouts within one point of a Playoff position with a match in hand and allowing Team Germany to leapfrog from fourth to second place.

Moreover it wasn‘t any ordinary bout that caused the changes as the USA took an unexpected point of group favourites the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder, but rather it was the debut of an unknown 23 year old from France against a London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist that made the difference.

Robson Conceição, the 2013 World silver medallist and his Lightweight opponent Daquan Mays put on an outstanding display for the crowds in Miami. Mays looked like he knew his way around the ring, and was perhaps unlucky in the short term to have faced such an experienced opponent for his first appearance in the competition. The experience may do him good however and the 20 year old American boxer is certainly a good find for the USA. Conceição, despite his great desire to attack aggressively, had to show his opponent sufficient respect to stay safe. In reality of course, the Brazilian is also a new boxer to the WSB having only had one bout previously to this one, so it speaks volumes about his talent for us to be already writing of him as though he were a WSB veteran. He was named as the commentator’s boxer of the night and he is a great new addition to the Italia Thunder team and the WSB in general. It will be interesting to see how he fares against some of the tournament’s bigger names. Mays began to look a little outgunned by the end, but he came back hard to give us a fantastic final flourish to one of the best bouts of the weekend so far.

Boxer of the match

In reality, the bout of the match, boxer of the match, and turning point of the match (if not the week in Group A), should all have been awarded to Souleymane Cissokho of France, who was making his WSB debut at Welterweight. The 23-year-old USA Knockouts boxer faced a seemingly impossible challenge against the great Italian pugilist, London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, Vincenzo Mangiacapre of Italy. Therefore this must go down as the greatest upset of the season so far. We have said for some time that Mangiacapre could get into trouble for his tendency to box with his hands right down by his sides in the Italian style, relying on his agility to keep him from harm. Against Cissokho he finally came unstuck. At the end of the first round, the Frenchman clipped the more experienced boxer with a hard left hook to leave him wobbly. Mangiacapre came back to take the second, and Cissokho the third. The bout remained close and by the end of the fourth round, the Italian coach was screaming at his man in the corner, and through the final round he could be heard calling for his man to go straight in. But it was too little too late and Cissokho had managed to engineer a well worked win over one of the biggest names in the WSB to guarantee the USA a hugely important point. This took them within just one point of the Argentina Condors and a place in the Playoffs, with a match in hand over their South American rivals. Denying Italy the full points for the match also meant that the Italians slipped to third behind Team Germany. Mangiacapre wasn’t a classic villain however as he took the loss stoically and was enough of a gentleman to hold the ropes for his opponent.

The turning point

When WSB veteran Abdelhafid Benchabla of Algeria took to the ring for the Italia Thunder, the team were 2:1 down. Knowing that they had a walkover at Super Heavyweight, the Thunder had already secured a point from the match. But to get the win, Benchabla would have to do the business against his Light Heavyweight opponent, WSB debutant Michael de Souza of Brazil. The gap in experience was apparent from the start, with Benchabla coming into the bout with a 15-4 record. He put all that extra ring-time to work for him and the Italia Thunder to ensure that the team came home with the win. De Souza had his moments however, but for much of the later rounds he was in survival mode. A very difficult debut for the Brazilian, but another assured performance for the now 16-4 Algerian.

Quote of the match

“Cissokho might just be one of those absolute naturals, you never can tell, but I have a feeling that Cissokho will test Mangiacapre’s chin” – Our commentator calls it right within the first minute of the bout.

Wrap up

Eros Correa made his second appearance in the WSB against Italian debutant Iuliano Gallo. Correa fought a good bout, with enough zip and verve to bring his record to 1-1 and give the USA Knockouts an important early win in the match. Again, this proved pivotal not only for the match, but for the shape of the whole group. If the USA can keep the pressure on Argentina and make it to the Playoffs, it will be a huge statement of intent.

Elsewhere Mihai Nistor won his bout by walkover following the withdrawal of both USA Super Heavyweights.

Poland 1-4 Kazakhstan: Another smooth win for the Arlans

The genius that is Astana Arlans Kazakhstan’s head coach Sergiy Korchynsky came up trumps again tonight after taking a gamble on his team selection in Poland. The defending champions fielded a youthful side which nonetheless delivered the goods in Warsaw. There was however good news for Hussars Poland as captain Tomasz Jablonski managed to secure the team‘s first win in Season IV of the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

Tonight we enjoyed watching the Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) as the C1 category took to the ring.

Bout of the match

Light Welterweight Damian Kiwior of the Hussars Poland took on the southpaw Askhat Ualikhanov of the visiting Arlans team. The Kazakh boxer took to the centre of the ring and fired several right jabs and useful looking body shots from the get go. The Polish athlete however was certainly not outclassed or intimidated and he returned fire with a vicious right hand and the occasional left hook. Round two started brightly with the Kazakh coming out fast and the Pole refusing to back down. In round three, the Polish boxer went on the front foot and in so doing found a winning formula. He began to land heavy body shots and hooks from behind a tight defensive shield.

Boxing in a Russian style and on the inside, he began to nail his Kazakhstan opponent like a carpenter’s hammer and the bout became significantly closer. The crowd began to warm to their tenacious young athlete and yelled their support. Unsurprisingly, Kiwior stuck with the tactic into round four. He also began to show his supreme physical conditioning and was now pushing the pace of the bout. The Kazakh meanwhile was starting to look tired and in a reversal of fortunes, it was he who was now the most pleased to hear the bell ring. This was one of the first times this season that a Polish boxer had won a round unanimously. The man in the ascendancy was clearly Kiwior, but the question was could he do enough with just one round to go to steal the bout from the Kazakh athlete? In the end it was not to be. This was unfortunate because it was an impressive display and may have even won Kiwior “Boxer of the match”. For Ualikhanov however, it was a gutsy performance in which he had to dig deep to hang onto his lead.

Boxer of the match

Middleweight Jablonski was the Hussars main hope of the night against Yerik Alzhanov but after two rounds, the bout was even with one apiece. Jablonski made good use of his right hand and classic one two combinations against what proved to be a very talented WSB debutant. By this point in the match, a win for the team was unattainable, but were Jablonski to poach a victory, there would still be an opportunity to claim at least one point from the match.

The Pole was cut above both eyes during round two and his corner worked extremely hard to put him back together in time to get him out again for round three. But embodying the tenacious spirit of the Hussars Poland, team’s captain Jablonski bravely battled on and for the first time in the WSB Season IV, a Polish boxer was ahead at the end of round three. Moreover, this was new territory for the Kazakh who had never previously boxed beyond three rounds. Jablonski continued to hang tough and despite suffering from his injuries, he was willing to get stuck in against his Kazakh opponent. This resulted in an outstanding win and a victory which may carry a significant psychological benefit for the rest of the team going forward.

The turning point

This moment came when Lukasz Zygmunt of the Hussars took on the super talented Vasilii Levit of the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan. Along with Erislandy Savon of Cuba, Levit really is one of the most exciting new heavyweight boxers in the WSB this year. He dropped his Polish opponent in the fourth round with some absolutely stunning body shots. Whilst the Pole was fortunate to make it through to the end of the round, Levit by stark contrast looked as fresh as a daisy. Indeed the Heavyweight division in general is starting to shape up to be an exciting category for the WSB this year, including as it does current World Champion Clemente Russo from Italy, the highly talented Mihai Nistor from Romania and several other world class athletes.

Levit denied the host team the potential to walk away from the match with a point and sealed the deal for the visiting Arlans. His performance was arguably one of the most dominant in the WSB history for any bout that has gone the whole distance, though this perhaps also says something for the resilience of his opponent. Nonetheless Levit is an exciting prospect for the future.

Azerbaijan 2-3 Cuba: The Fires take it to the wire

The Azerbaijan Baku Fires showed their grit when they became only the second team in the history of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) to win bouts against the Cuba Domadores, after the defending champions, the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, achieved the same feat before Christmas. The Fires came a good deal closer to winning outright however with it requiring supreme intervention from Cuban star boxer Erislandy Savon to prevent the Domadores from getting burnt.

From the Domadores point of view however, they have now defeated yet another rival away from home and remain unbeaten in the WSB. Only the Russian team now stands between the Domadores and a white wash in away matches. This was a perfect result for a team who has been through a difficult week which included the non-lethal shooting of one of their team members, in what is understood to have been an attempted armed robbery in Cuba.

Bout of the match

In an interesting juxtaposition the current WSB number one and two ranked Light Welterweight fighters went head to head as Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev took on Yasnier Toledo of the Domadores. Gadzhialiyev is a tricky boxer who predominantly boxes orthodox, but who is willing to come close to putting his other foot in front from time to time to get a full sting on his shots. He has only had two bouts so far in the WSB and has made a return from a two season absence. His layoff does not seem to have affected him though, and he looked very dangerous indeed in the ring against one of the best boxers in the world. Toledo, the confirmed southpaw, got given a standing eight count in the second round and the crowd was brought to life with the thought that their man may cause an upset. The Azeri boxer indeed managed to get ahead and hang on to deliver an outstanding result for the hosts and keep them in the competition. When he achieved this, the crowd went absolutely wild. Two bouts down before he came on the scene, the Fires were now back in it.

Boxer of the match

Yosbany Veitia looked absolutely untouchable against Khamza Nametov of the Azerbaijan Baku Fires. Nametov is no slouch but Yosbany made him look ordinary. By round three you could almost literally count on one hand the amount of significant contact the Azeri made with the Cuban. However the Fires boxer did have a better fourth and took the round. Veitia looked so relaxed and natural in the ring that the commentator mentioned that he looked like he was shadow boxing. Perhaps Nametov would have felt it more apt if he had been called the shadow, so hard was he to hit.

The turning point

With the score at 2:2 Erislandy Savon and Denis Latypov of Azerbaijan had to fight a bout that was almost akin to a sudden death one to determine the outcome of the match. In round one, the Azeri came out and really hustled the Cuban, causing him significant problems. However Savon came back in round two and made excellent use of his range. Thus the tactics were established. The question was who would be able to maintain their preferred distance? That turned out to be Savon. With stylish boxing that utterly silenced the crowd, the Cuban picked the Baku Fires pockets to steal the whole match back for the Cubans.

Wrap up

Magomed Gurbanov managed to get the home crowd warmed up against Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba. This was a very close fight, almost the proverbial physical chess with the southpaw Cuban using his speed against the solid looking Azeri. Gurbanov deserves credit for his incredible fitness level and his ability to really put the pressure on his opponents. Yet it was the Cuban boxer who took the bout after winning all but one round.

Azeri WSB veteran Khaybula Musalov was excellent against Ramon Luis. The Cuban boxer likes to dance and use the ring but the 9-3 Azeri was good at cutting the angles, strategic clinching and inside work to spoil the long range advantage of the Cuban. In essence, he strategically chose to turn the bout into a scrap, preventing the Cuban from executing his technical boxing. It was a tactically splendid move. In round three, the Cuban began to insist on his distance a bit more and looked a lot better. As things went on, it became increasingly hard to judge. It was so close that as the pair went into the final round, their scores were tied on 38:38 from all three judges. The whole match hinged on the actions of these two in the last round. It was Musalov who took the decision in the end, bringing the scores to 2-2 and completing the impressive Azeri fight back into the match.

Russia 5-0 Mexico: The Russian assault gains momentum

The Russian Boxing Team is back where they left off before Christmas, taking names in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV. Last year’s semi-finalists, the Mexico Guerreros, were the next scalp to be collected by the emerging boxing powerhouse from Russia.

Bout of the match

Belik Galanov took on Jose Zaleta Reyes of the Mexico Guerreros in a fight that really couldn’t have been any tighter if it was done up by a shoelace. The two hard-hitting Light Flyweight orthodox boxers stood toe to toe and banged at each other for the full five rounds. It was good to see that the Mexicans’ seemed to have packed the famous Guerrero “heart” that made them so difficult to beat last season in their suit cases. The Russian however began to claw his way ahead by battering past his opponent over the last two rounds. The Mexican hung in there with real grit and made life very difficult for the local boxer. In the end it was the Russian who took the win.

Boxer of the match

Vladimir Nikitin, the World silver medallist, looked absolutely outstanding against the Guerreros Aaron Alameda, who has the unfortunate record of 1-7. The Russian fighter is an extreme front-foot style boxer. Operating from behind his guard and stalking his opponents completely flat footed, Nikitin eschews any kind of bouncing as though it were something best left for kangaroos. He put the Mexican under extreme pressure in rounds one to three but began to look fatigued himself in round four, which allowed Alameda space in which he could begin to operate. Nikitin must be the hardest hitting Bantamweight in the game though; when his body shots land, you can hear them from the far end of the stadium. So in the end, despite his fatigue, he was able to power his way through an interesting bout.

The turning point

European Champion Armen Zakaryan looked excellent against Frenchman Abdel-Malik Ladjali. The Russian pushed the pace hard and by round three, the Guerrero was struggling to keep up. By round four, the Russian had switched to cruise control as the Frenchman’s resistance began to crumble. In the end, the Russian was happy to coast along and the Guerrero, who was already psychologically beaten, allowed him to.

Wrap up

Evgeniy Tischenko who was making his debut in the WSB, but he is not exactly an ordinary new boy, rather he is the current World silver medallist and the last time he stepped in the ring was in the finals of the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 in October against none other than Italia Thunder superstar Clemente Russo. Thus when he came out against the Albanian Christian Demaj who competes for the Guerreros and (now) boasts a record of 0-5, the bout was only ever going to go one way. Unfortunately though, after an interesting opening round, the Albanian sustained an injury which forced him to retire in round two. He had clearly been struggling for some time and looked disappointed to have to pull-out so soon.

Elsewhere Artem Chebotarev, the two times European Champion had a walkover against the Mexican Misael Rodriguez.

Algeria 1-4 Ukraine: Otamans rock the Hawks

The Ukraine Otamans took advantage of the Dolce &Gabbana Italia Thunder’s slip up in the USA to increase their lead in Group A of the World Series of Boxing (WSB). Their opponents, the Algeria Desert Hawks however, remain pined to the bottom.
Even better for the Otamans, it was their young guns who took to the ring today to gain experience. 23 year old Super Heavyweight (91+kg) Igor Plevako took his WSB record to 2-0 with his TKO of 34 year old Algerian veteran Kamel Rahmani as did Flyweight (52kg) Kazat Usenaliev from Kyrgyzstan when he beat Amine Khentache. Finally, 22 year old Oleg Prudkyi had a successful debut against France’s Oualid Belaoura.

There was some good news too for Ievgenii Barabanov who at 20 got his first WSB win over Fehim Chabane and now has an improved record of 1-2.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though, and Desert Hawks veteran Nabil Kassel won by split decision over the 18 year old Light Heavyweight (81kg) Oleksandr Khyzhniak to take his personal record to a respectable 4-2.

Coming up next, the Otamans take the long journey to Miami where they will face an invigorated USA Knockouts team. Algeria meanwhile will be hosting second placed Team Germany.