Moscow stun Milano to take top spot as Baku makes it a perfect ten
Sensational climactic end to the World Series of Boxing (WSB) regular season as Dynamo Moscow secure first place in Group A with a win against a full-strength Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder team. Paris United move up to third in Group B after overpowering the visiting Leipzig Leopards. Bangkok Elephants taste victory for the first time following a tight contest versus Los Angeles Matadors. Astana Arlans flex their muscle to inflict defeat on the Venky's Mumbai Fighters and Baku Fires show their steel to win away at the Mexico City Guerreros. There are now mouth-watering quarter-finals to look forward to.
Article posted on 18.02.2012
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Match of the week
Dynamo Moscow were the form team coming into this weekend and their home clash with the Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder would decide who would end the regular season top of Group A. The visiting Italian outfit had brought out all the big guns to deal with the rampant Moscow fighters, in what promised to be one quality match. Ukrainian southpaw Vitaliy Volkov saw his hopes of reaching the WSB Individual finals evaporate after being completely overwhelmed by the electric Anvar Yusunov in the opening Bantamweight contest, as Dynamo took the early lead in the match. Milan poster-boy Domenico Valentino looked solid in the early rounds but 21-year-old Russian Adlan Abdurashidov had other ideas as he came back strongly to inflict more misery on the visitors. The Italians clawed themselves back into the match as Middleweight No.1 Sergiy Derevyanchenko once again proved his class by defeating Vitali Bandarenka, extending his WSB record to eleven wins no losses. Underdog Oleksandr Gvozdyk then sent the fans in Moscow into raptures after snatching the win against hard-hitting Frenchman Ludovic Groguhé, giving Dynamo an unassailable lead in the match. Heavyweight king Clemente Russo reduced the deficit for Milano but it was too late; the night belonged to Dynamo Moscow who triumphed 3:2 to top the table. Moscow will now face either Leipzig Leopards or Istanbul Bosphorus in the first knock-out stages and Milano will battle Paris United.
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Fight of the week
One of the big surprises of this weekend will have been 24-year-old orthodox Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk defeating Ludovic Groguhé in such style, giving Moscow the vital win against Milano. Two-time National Champion Gvozdyk had the height and reach advantage over his rival coming into this fight but many will have been impressed by his speed and agility. A fast and furious first round set the tone for a riveting encounter as both boxers threw everything they had at each other. It made for compelling viewing with some exquisite combination punches being displayed by the two corners. Gvozdyk withstood a strong fightback by Groguhé to win by split decision in one of the stand-out bouts of the weekend.
Thrashing of the week
It might not be viewed as a thrashing of sorts; however this was the most comprehensive victory of this final regular season weekend, as Paris United delighted their home crowd with a classy win over the Leipzig Leopards, leapfrogging their opponents to third in Group B. John Joe Nevin completely dominated Rashid Kassem to take the Lightweight contest before a below-par Michel Tavares delivered the goods to beat 19-year-old newcomer Arayak Marutyan. Croatian Hrvoje Sep got his personal account up and running for the season with a solid performance against Bukurim Tairi, knocking him down in the final round on his way to an overwhelming points victory. Heavyweight giant Filip Hrgovic was too strong for Alexander Povernov in the final contest as Paris United won 4:1. The only bright note for Leipzig was a first victory for Bantamweight Edgar Walth, but apart from that, it was all Paris.
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Rest of the action
Having endured a torrid time so far in the WSB, the Bangkok Elephants will have been delighted to sign off the season on a high, with a deserved victory over the visiting Los Angeles Matadors in Group A. This was a very close affair at the jam-packed Pattaya Boxing World venue, with fighters on both sides having a point to prove. Leonid Malkov had the Matadors level-pegging at 1-1 after a split decision win over Wuttichai Matsuk in the Lightweight contest, before 25-year-old Algerian Abdelmalek Rahou gave the Elephants back the advantage with a points victory against the experienced Russell Lamour. When Siarhei Karneyeu exposed the gulf in class with a strong display against Kriangkai Sukkhum to bring back the score to 2-2, it was all to fight for. Step up Cameroon's Heavyweight Blaise Yepmou Mendouo, who after a promising debut, showcased his power to devastating effect this time around to dispatch Javier Torres and give the home team the victory.
Although the scoreline might suggest otherwise, Astana Arlans vs. Venky's Mumbai Fighters was a in fact a very close match. In the Bantamweight contest, Mirzhan got the home team off to a good start after just shading his encounter with Ukrainian Ivan Ilnystskyy, before 24-year-old southpaw Samat Bashenov made a successful WSB debut against Charly Suarez to give Astana a 2-0 cushion. Tough Israeli Konstantin Snigpour kept up his unblemished record in this competition after taking the Middleweight contest. At this stage it was 2-1 for Astana but all three fights had been split decisions. After that it was the Benchabla show before his compatriot Chouaib Bouloudinats wrapped up proceedings by stamping his authority on the Heavyweight contest and give the home team a 4:1 win in Group A.
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Having travelled early to Mexico to acclimatise before facing the Mexico City Guerreros, Baku Fires were determined to make it a perfect ten and remain unbeaten in the Group stages. Fortress Foro Polanco is a difficult place for any team to go to so this represented a real challenge for the Azeri outfit. Russian newcomer Magomed Kurbanov got the visitors off to the perfect start with a hard-fought victory against 18-year-old southpaw Aaron Alameda Lopez in the Bantamweight contest. Uzbekistan's Hurshid Tojibaev defeated Madadi Nagzibekov to get the Mexico City Guerreros back on level terms. Middleweight Heybulla Mursalov then booked his place to the Individual Finals, at the detriment of Paris United's Michel Tavares, with victory over the taller Mlden Manev, to the delight of his corner. Croatian National Champion Bojan Miskovic had the tie delicately poised at 2-2 after a domineering performance over 19-year-old Radgab Aliyev. This meant that the decider hinged on the result of the evening's Heavyweight contest between Baku's Farid Shabanov and Omar Garcia. The tall orthodox Shabanov was too strong for his rival and as he completely overwhelmed Garcia, the Mexican corner throwing in the towel at the end of the third round and giving the Baku Fires the overall victory. Both teams were assured their final league positions with Baku now primed to face the Venky's Mumbai Fighters in the quarter-finals and the Guerreros up against Astana Arlans.
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Boxer of the week
Last year's Light Heavyweight Individual champion, 25-year-old Algerian Abdelhafid Benchabla of the Astana Arlans had not yet hit top form this season, but his performance against Rahul Kumar of the Venky's Mumbai Fighters was a joy to behold. Benchabla put on a masteclass, he was full of panache as he completely dominated his opponent, displaying his full repertoire of shots with some devastating combination punches to win by TKO. He looked hungry, moving well around the ring and putting on a real performance for the spectators. If he continues in this mood, this talented fighter could set the knock-out stages alight.
The Beijing Dragons vs. Istanbul Bosphorus tie has been postponed until 22 February.
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