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World Series Of Boxing: Kazakhstan stun Lionhearts; Italy defeat Ukraine!

Lausanne, Switzerland, 08 December 2012 – Making a first appearance at the Almaty Sports Palace, Astana Arlans Kazakhstan were inspired as they completely dominated a visiting British Lionhearts side lining-up four WSB debutants. Zhakupov, Mussafirov, Snigur, Karlson and Hrgovic all recorded victories in this Group B clash to send Kazakhstan top of table.

It was fast and furious in the early exchanges of the Bantamweight (50-54kg) contest between Kazakhstan’s Miras Zhakupov and Gamal Yafai of the British Lionhearts. The home boxer used his range to good effect to edge the first three rounds whilst Yafai continued to look to land those thunderous hooks. Using his jab and quick one-two combinations, Zhakupov looked solid and the more the fight wore on, the more Yafai came charging forward to leave himself exposed to the counter-punch. In the end, the Kazak 23-year-old orthodox’s measured approach saw him claim all five rounds to give Kazakhstan the lead in the match.

An intriguing bout ensued at Lightweight (57-61kg) with the hosts’ Yerzhan Mussafirov facing tall Scottish southpaw Josh Taylor. The Kazak, one of the outstanding boxers of season one, began well, applying constant pressure on his opponent, keeping him close to the ropes and working the body from the inside. The theme continued in rounds three and four as Taylor struggled to get to grips with the unrelenting 27-year-old. The Lionhearts’ WSB debutant battled valiantly but in the end Mussafirov endeavour put the Arlans 2-0 up on the night.

At Middleweight (68-73kg), it was Kazakhstan’s Israeli hardman Konstantin Snigur versus Aston Brown. The 21-year-old Brit’s began well but his over-confidence counted against him in the early stages as his orthodox opponent came back strong to claim the second and third rounds with some excellent shot-making. Snigur was moving well and throwing some piercing shots, connecting well with his intended target. Brown was standing strong and was putting up a great fight but it was the home boxer’s precision which made the difference as Snigur triumphed.

It was pretty evenly matched in the first two rounds of the Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) showdown with both Ainar Karlon of the Kazak team and 31-year-old Swede Babacar Kamara connecting with some solid shots. After edging the first two rounds, Karlson began switching stance in the third to try and unsettle the powerful Lionhearts orthodox fighter but it served only to motivate Kamara who mixed it up well to claim the round. The tall Arlans 24-year-old changed tactic again and this time kept his distance to good effect as he closed out the fight to claim his maiden WSB victory.

2012 WSB Heavyweight (91+kg) Champion Filip Hrgovic and London Olympian Mohamed Arjaoui from Morocco then went head-to-head in an explosive bout. The Lionhearts’ Arjaoui worked tirelessly to try and come inside but was thwarted time and time again as the Croatian expertly used his jab to keep his opponent at range. Good footwork from Hrgovic meant he stayed out of trouble and expertly dealt with anything his rival threw at him. Kazakhstan’s summer recruit stylishly did the business, winning all five rounds to give his team a resounding win in the match.

It was in the end a scintillating performance by Astana Arlans Kazakhstan as their experienced campaigners delivered against an untested Lionhearts line-up. The Kazak team next host reigning champions Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder on Friday 14 December at this same venue whilst the Brits host the German Eagles at Earl’s Court in London that same night.

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Italia inflict defeat on hard-working Ukraine (4-1)

Lausanne, Switzerland, 09 December 2012 – It was a night of top quality boxing at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan with Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder showing their mettle against a resolute Ukraine Otamans team in this World Series Boxing (WSB) match. The home side saw their Italian contingent of Parrinello, Valentino and Russo give them the edge with Hungary’s Szello putting the gloss on a hard-fought victory in Group B.

Bantamweight (50-54kg) orthodox fighter Jahyn Vittorio Parrinello got proceedings underway against Ukraine Otamans’ dangerous Moldovan Alexandr Riscan. The Italia Thunder’s 29-year-old Beijing and London Olympian Games was clever in the opening two rounds, moving sharply and using his range to great effect. Riscan cut his rival above the left eye with a sweet right hook in the third but the Italian stuck to his tactics and managed to close out the remaining rounds and wrap the win.

Making his long awaited return to WSB after last season injuries, 2009 AIBA World Champion Domenico Valentino then battled tough Lightweight (57-61kg) Ukrainian Vyacheslav Kyslytsyn. The 28-year-old crowd favourite began well, with some swift one-twos giving him the edge in the first. The Ukrainian was trying to rough up Valentino but he was being picked off by some precise rights and swift counters. Valentino would not be outboxed on his comeback and the Italian was victorious following a controlled performance.

The Middleweight (68-73kg) showdown between the Thunder’s unbeaten Irishman William McLaughlin and Dmytro Mytrofanov began at frenetic pace. The Ukrainian was on the front foot right from the off, working his opponent on the inside and connecting with some hard uppercuts to take the first. Going toe-to-toe and trading a lot of punches in the second and third, the two fighters were really going for it, each unloading some quality shots. It was electric and compulsive viewing with a top class fight unfolding between the two. Mytrofanov’s body shots began to wear down the McLaughlin and his aggressive style saw him win to reduce the deficit for the Otamans, 2-1.

Vastly experienced Imre Szello found himself in another tough battle as he faced the tall Ukrainian Denys Poyatsyka in the Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) bout. The powerful Otamans orthodox fighter was showing good movement and a good variation in his punches with Szello having to dig deep to withstand the onslaught. The Hungarian stood firml before exploding into life in the fourth, landing a series of hard rights to take the sting out of Poyatsyka. With that round pivotal, the Thunder boxer went onto to defeat his rival in style to give his team an unassailable lead in the match.

Two-time Olympic silver medallist and WSB superstar Clemente Russo showed his lightening quick hands as he played to the crowd against Rostyslav Arkhypenko of Ukraine. The charismatic Italian was showboating in the first two rounds, dancing about and throwing a good mix of shots. Arkhypenko continued to move forward however to put Russo under some pressure in the third. The Thunder team captain did not have his best night but his know-how and clever movement ensured a resounding overall win for his team

Next up for Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder is a trip to Almaty to face Astana Arlans Kazakhstan on Friday 14 December when Ukraine also host the USA Knockouts.