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WSB: Week 7, Group B Opportunity for Fires?



- With third placed Russia facing a tough away match against defending champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, the Azerbaijan Baku Fires have the chance to draw level with the European giants on points; but only if they can muster a win in Mexico.

Cuba Domadores vs. Hussars Poland
01/02/2014, 01:30 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

The Domadores look set to delight their 14,000 home fans in Cuidad Deportiva, Havana, again this weekend with a display of force against the bottom placed Hussars Poland. The Hussars performances, which have always been robust displays of determination, have been improving of late, with them snatching a point in their last match against arch rivals Russia. It will be interesting to see how the underdogs now hold-up with the pressure of competing against the stand-out team of the season, and in the most challenging away venue in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

World bronze medallist Yosbany Veitia, who is the number one ranked Light Flyweight (46-49kg) this year, will lead his team out in the night’s opening bout against Dawid Jagodzinski. The Pole has yet to win a bout this season. Life will be no easier for his team mate Lukasz Zygmunt. The 31 year old Pole will have his work cut out for him against the number 1 ranked Heavyweight (91kg). Erislandy Savon, who is the nephew of one of the greatest boxers of all time, three time Olympic Gold medallist and six time World Champion Felix Savon. Elsewhere, Ramon Luis, who lost his last bout against the Fires will want to improve his 2-1 record against Piotr Gredke (0-1) at Light Welterweight (64kg). Luis’ search for redemption means that this should also be a bout worth watching.

Mexico Guerreros vs. Azerbaijan Baku Fires
01/02/2014, 02:50 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

The Guerreros have had a tough season this year, but have also shown signs of a late revival. However they can expect a serious test this weekend against an ambitious and aggressive Baku Fires, who have the chance to pull level with Russia on points. Should they manage to secure an away win. Mexico City, which was a veritable fortress for the Guerreros last season has been breached on several occasions already this year. The prize for successfully storming the proverbial ramparts for the “Bad Boys” isn’t just third place, it is the hope of avoiding Season III finalists the Ukraine Otamans in the quarter-finals. The Fires seemed to have sensed that an opportunity lies in the Foro Polanco and have sent an extremely strong team to Mexico. They will be lead out by 2012 WSB Individual Champion Gairbek Germakhanov at Bantamweight (56kg), who is 11-2 across three seasons in the WSB. Support will be on hand for him via Heavyweight Vladimir Cheles (4-1) and Soltan Migitinov at Middleweight. Both boxers make their first appearance of the season with Migitinov making a return to the WSB after a two season absence. Despite that he comes to the ring with six bouts of experience and his only losses were to WSB superstars Michel Tavares (Italia Thunder) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Astana Arlans). The Guerreros meanwhile will be relying on the experience of Juan Romero at Light Welterweight (64kg) who has a 9-2 record to lead home side and to stem the assault.

Astana Arlans Kazakhstan vs. Russian Boxing Team
01/02/2014, 13:50 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com

The defending champions Astana Arlans, respectful of the threat posed by the enigmatic Russian team lined up some of their best boxers for the match this weekend. This season’s Heavyweight sensation Vasilii Levit is so far unbeaten across three bouts making him the number two ranked athlete in his weight category. He will face an interesting challenge this week in the guise of WSB debutant Aleksei Egorov. We don’t know much about the young Russian, but with the European boxing super-power talent rich, you never know what they may be bringing to the ring in Egorov; which is a comment we made in Week 1about Levit himself.
At Middleweight, the WSB’s most successful boxer of all time, the Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko will be once more gracing the canvas for the Arlans. He will be putting his 20-1 record on the line against Russia’s up-and-coming Petr Khamukov. The Russian will be making his first appearance of the season but he successfully won both his bouts last year. At just 22, is energy levels may pose a threat to the great Ukrainian. But being 28 years old, Derevyanchenko is just coming into his prime so we can expect this to be a difficult night in the office for the Team Russia boxer.

We may have a more tightly contested battle in the Light Flyweight category as 2-0 Mardan Berikbayev of Kazakhstan takes on Belik Galanov of Russia who is 1-0 in the WSB. The real question will be: can the Russians do enough to take a point from the Arlans this week or will they find themselves on an equal pegging with the tough Azerbaijan Baku Fires come Sunday?
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