Cuba Domadores qualify for WSB Final after first leg victory over Mexico Guerreros
A dominant 5-0 victory in Havana on May 21 from Cuba Domadores over Mexico Guerreros extended their undefeated run in Season V of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) to 15 matches, and qualified the North American team into the WSB Finals for the second year in a row.
Only four matches could take place in the next day’s second leg due to Light heavyweight (81 kg) Carlos Mina being unable to weigh-in and compete, which makes Cuba’s five match lead impossible to overhaul.
From the opening seconds of action Cuba displayed the skill and speed that has personified their boxing style for decades, while Mexico impressed despite fielding an inexperienced team which included three boxers making their season debut.
This was Cuba’s ninth whitewash victory of the season, and defeating them in the Final will be a hugely difficult task for either Astana Arlans Kazakhstan or Russian Boxing Team.
The night began with an assertive victory at Light flyweight (49 kg) from Cuba’s Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez, who secured his sixth win of the season against Mexican debutant Jose Daniel Rojas Romero.
Perez is just 18-years-old, but fights in the manner of a much more experienced boxer, and his control of the match was clear from the outset.
Romero was dogged and occasionally elusive, but the speed of Perez negated all Mexican attacks, which allowed the Domadore to accurately pick his punches.
At the end of the contest, all three judges awarded every round to the electrifying youngster.
London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez returned to WSB for the first time since January, and made up for lost time as he defeated Bantamweight (56 kg) Ivan Jesus Delgado.
Ramirez started the bout with great intent, stamping his authority across all three minutes of the first round with stiff jabs and sharp right hands.
Delgado improved from that point forward however, and though Ramirez claimed the second round according to the judges, the superior stamina of his rival saw him lose the third frame on two scorecards.
Despite his fading legs, Ramirez rallied to clinch the last two rounds, and he doubled Cuba’s advantage with a unanimous decision triumph.
Two-time AIBA World Championships silver medalist Yasnier Toledo then earned his seventh win of the season, and secured an unassailable first leg lead for Cuba against Roberto Zariñana Gomez.
Toledo was the better fighter in each round, and showcased his wide range of attacks which frequently troubled Zariñana.
Many Cuban fighters are blessed with phenomenal footwork, but Toledo’s is at another level entirely, and his quick feet enabled him to maneuver the bout as he saw fit.
Cuba’s lead increased further after 7-1 Middleweight (75 kg) Arlen Lopez widely outpointed Mexico’s Misael Uriel Rodríguez Oliva.
Lopez enjoyed a sizeable height and reach advantage, and his shot variety was impressive with his uppercuts a particularly potent weapon.
WSB Season IV Boxer of the Season Erislandy Savon vaulted over the ropes into the ring before his Heavyweight (91 kg) meeting with Ecuador’s Julio Cesar Castillo Torres, and he was similarly jubilant after enjoying his eighth win of the campaign.
Both fighters had undefeated records prior to the start of the fight, and a cagey first round exploded into life in the last 30 seconds as it appeared that Castillo had knocked Savon down with a right hand.
Despite the referee indicating the knockdown, all three judges awarded the first round to Savon who began the second frame with intent, after perhaps feeling embarrassed at what had just occurred.
With menace in his eyes, a right-left combo knocked Torres down early in round two, before the Ecuadorian was forced to pull out of the fight moments later due to an injured nose.
The TKO win not only kept Savon’s unbeaten run going, but also assured Cuba of a place in their second successive WSB Final.
Cuba Domadores qualify for their second WSB Final after 10-0 aggregate win over Mexico Guerreros
World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV Champions Cuba Domadores earned an entertaining 5-0 victory over Mexico Guerreros in the second leg of their semi-final on May 22, and reached the WSB Final 10-0 on aggregate.
After their first leg whitewash triumph, Cuba began tonight’s action having already qualified for the Final as Mexico was unable to produce a boxer in the Light heavyweight (81 kg) division.
Ecuador’s Carlos Mina could not weigh-in for his proposed match with Cuba’s Julio Cesar La Cruz due to illness, so their contest was declared a walkover win for La Cruz which gave Cuba an unassailable 6-0 lead before a glove had been thrown in Havana.
This was Cuba’s tenth 5-0 whitewash of Season V, and they will next meet either Astana Arlans Kazakhstan or Russian Boxing Team as they bid to become WSB Champions for the second year in a row.
Frank Osvaldo Zaldívar Santisteban displayed the strength of the Cuban team as he began the evening by winning his WSB debut against 4-4 Mexican Flyweight (52 kg) Orlando Huitzil Ahuatl.
Santisteban is a very exciting prospect, and impressed throughout his contest with the experienced Ahuatl.
Both Flyweights continually pressed forward, but it was the Cuban athlete who controlled the important elements of the bout, and eventually won 49-46 according to one judge, and 48-47 on the remaining scorecards.
Two-time AIBA World Champion Lazaro Alvarez earned Cuba’s third win of the evening, and took his Season V record to 8-0 in the process with a dominant performance over 5-2 Lindolfo Delgado.
Alvarez is one of the smoothest in-ring technicians of WSB, and his excellent versatility confounded Delgado in every round.
The penultimate match of this semi-final was a Welterweight (69 kg) rematch between Cuba’s Olympic and AIBA World Championships gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo and Héctor Andrés Reyes Anguiano, where once again this season the Cuban star defeated his Mexican rival.
Sotolongo had struggled to truly impress in this campaign despite his many accolades, but he improved immensely in Havana to show exactly why he is regarded as one of the best boxers in the world.
Hard right hands and stiff jabs forced Anguiano backwards despite his attacking instincts, and the Mexican fighter was forced to take a standing count in the fifth round after being hit by a left hook.
All three judges awarded every round to Sotolongo who looks back to his brilliant best.
7-1 super-heavyweight (91& kg) Domadore Lenier Eunice Pero closed the semi-final in style for Cuba as he stopped former Pan American Games bronze medalist Jorge Quiñonez in round one of their contest.
Pero dropped Quiñonez with a left hook to the body less than a minute into the frame, and a follow-up shot to the midsection forced the end of the match shortly after.
Cuba now has a 73-7 record this season, and look virtually unbeatable heading into the WSB Final.
Amazing Astana Arlans Kazakhstan dominate Russian Boxing Team in semi-final first leg
A powerful first leg performance from Astana Arlans Kazakhstan resulted in a 5-0 victory over Russian Boxing Team on May 23.
Kazakhstan began the fixture strongly as their lower weight class boxers took them into an early lead, and their grip tightened as the matches progressed.
3-1 Light flyweight (49 kg) Temirtas Zhussupov gave Kazakhstan a perfect start as he won every round against 1-1 Vadim Kudriakov in the opening match.
Zhussupov was the busier boxer throughout the contest, and managed to nullify the attacks of Kudriako while frequently choosing the right moment to launch his own punches.
2013 AIBA World Championships bronze medalist Kairat Yeraliyev doubled Kazakhstan’s lead at Bantamweight (56 kg) when he outpointed Russia’s 1-1 Andranik Grigorian.
After Yeraliyev dominated the first three rounds, his Russian Rival finished strongly, but because of his poor start he could not make up the rounds difference.
Kazakh light-welterweight (64 kg) Samat Bashenov achieved his sixth win of the season, and put his franchise into an unassailable lead in the third match, but was made to work very hard for his win by Russia’s 23-year-old Avak Uzlian.
All three judges awarded the first round to Uzlian who was busier and more effective in the first three minutes, before Bashenov took the next three rounds as his WSB experience became apparent.
Uzlian never gave up however, and dominated the last round, but Bashenov had impressed enough to secure the victory by unanimous decision 49-46, and 48-47 on two scorecards.
6-0 middleweight (75 kg) Meiirim Nursultanov enjoyed a more comfortable triumph against Russian debutant Sukhrob Sidikov, as he dropped just one round on a single scorecard to make it 4-0 on the night for Kazakhstan.
Few boxers are as entertaining to watch in the ring as Nursultanov, and he delighted the home crowd with a very accomplished performance.
In the last match of the first leg, number one ranked heavyweight (91 kg) Vassiliy Levit dominated Russia’s Vitaly Kudukhov to seal the whitewash for his team.
Levit has blown away the majority of his opponents this season, and his eighth success of Season V was no different.
The first three rounds saw Levit utilise power shots from both hands, before Kudukhov was disqualified midway through the fourth round.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan defeat Russian Boxing Team 9-1 on aggregate in WSB Semi-Final
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan qualified for their third World Series of Boxing (WSB) final by defeating Russian Boxing Team 4-1 in the second leg of their semi-final, which gave them an overall 9-1 victory on aggregate.
Despite the 4-1 result, the second leg was a much closer event than the first night of action as Russia’s brave fighters pushed the Kazakh athletes throughout each match.
Kazakhstan will now meet defending Champions Cuba Domadores in the most eagerly anticipated WSB Final of all time.
4-1 Flyweight (52 kg) Olzhas Sattibayev confirmed Kazakhstan’s qualification when he defeated Russia’s 1-2 Karen Arutiunian in the first match of the evening.
Backed by a tremendously loud and supportive crowd, Sattibayev controlled the first three rounds with his busy style making life difficult for his Russian rival.
Arutiunian improved in the latter stages of the contest as he began to use a wider range of punches, but his late rally was not enough, and Sattibayev earned a unanimous decision victory.
Kazak Lightweight (60 kg) Zakir Safiullin then doubled the lead for his team against Artur Subkhankulov, but he was forced to work hard for his success in every second of their bout.
This was an energetic contest which saw both boxers throw many punches, but it was Safiullin whose skills impressed a little more in the first two rounds.
Subkhankulov began round three with more intent, and continually pressed forward against a more defensive Safiullin which impressed the judges in the frame.
Channelling the success of his teammates over the course of this season, the Kazakh star averted the third round crisis, and was awarded the bout by one round on all three scorecards.
Another close match was at welterweight (69 kg) where 2013 AIBA World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov edged a narrow split decision win over Russian debutant Iagub Nuriev.
Although he was making his first appearance of the season, Nuriev was confident against his decorated opponent, and reacted well to losing the first two rounds by staging an incredible comeback as the five round distance suited his style.
Yeleussinov tired at the beginning of the fourth round, and was forced into a brawl with Nuriev, with the World Champion unable to control the Russian mauler in the fifth round either.
Nuriev was relentless in his attacks and he attempted to rough up Yeleussinov to force a stoppage that would give him one of the most surprising results in WSB history.
It was not to be however, as Yeleussinov held on to take the match to the scorecards, where two judges awarded him the contest by one round, with Nuriev winning on the third scorecard.
This was one of the WSB’s most entertaining matches of all time, and Nuriev is a boxer to watch next season.
Russia claimed their lone victory in the semi-final at light-heavyweight (81 kg) when 2-0 Eduard Yakushev outpointed Nurdaulet Zharmanov.
Yakushev lost the first round as he struggled to deal with the movement of Zharmanov, but he reacted well to the task in hand, and won all of the four remaining rounds with quick punches and rugged strength.
Super-heavyweight (91& kg) Ivan Dychko sealed the 4-1 victory for Astana Arlans, and won his opening bout of the season as he stopped Russia’s Ruslan Shamalov.
Dychko’s power was evident in the first round, and he began the second frame impressively, with a huge right hand sending Shamalov down the canvas.
The Russian athlete was brave in returning to his feet, but the referee was forced to stop the contest as he was in no position to continue.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan has now won 15 of their 16 matches this season, and will be full of confidence heading into their final with Cuba Domadores.