Lausanne, Switzerland, February 22, 2014 – The Algeria Desert Hawks secured a major victory at home against the Argentina Condors in Week 9 of the World Series of Boxing (WSB). The result kept their hopes alive, at least mathematically, of qualifying for the Playoffs. For the Condors however, the door out of the Regular Season has now been firmly shut.
The Flyweights (52kg), Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg), Light Heavyweights (81kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg) contested this match.
Bout of the match
Sofiane Tabi and Juan Velasco had a close fought and technical bout at Welterweight. The two orthodox boxers both came into the ring with negative records (0-3 and 1-4 respectively). This was however a good match-up and it was clear that they both had the intention of turning their luck around, which made for a great show. Tabi seemed particularly elusive with good head movement. He used a lot of leaning back and slipping to avoid shots rather than relying on footwork, but it worked for him. The Argentinian meanwhile was on the front foot from behind a changeable ill-disciplined guard, but he was offensive enough to keep the home fans quiet for much of the bout. It was Tabi who won in the end through what looked to be a more scientific approach to the bout. This took him to 1-3 and gave him an important first WSB win.
Boxer of the match
Fernando Martinez looked excellent in his bout at Flyweight against Mohamed Tamma of the Algeria Desert Hawks. The Argentinian came into the bout with an already impressive 6-3 record. This was however his first appearance of the season so far, which given his performance tonight, will be something of a disappointment to Condors fans. He was aggressive throughout and rocked the local boxer with an outstanding left hook against the ropes before overwhelming him in the corner for a referee stoppage. The speed and fluidity of this finishing combination will be worthy of the Condors highlight reel this year, and his new 7-3 record makes him one of the team’s top boxers.
The turning point
At Light Heavyweight, Hichem Kaalaour took on Argentinian debutant Patricio Pitto. Kaalaour had faced some pretty tough opposition against Germany’s Serge Michel and Italia Thunder’s Peter Mullenberg in his first two appearances in the competition. He got more space in this bout though and he took full advantage of it. Boxing from a southpaw stance with his hands down by his sides, the Desert Hawk enjoyed the home advantage and set the crowd alight with his snaking right jab and brilliant foot work. The physically much bigger Argentinian looked slow in the ring next to him. But as the bout wore on, the Hawks boxer was testimony to the famous fighting phrase coined by Royce Gracie that “smooth is fast” as he gracefully out-manoeuvred his opponent rather than relying on raw speed. There were a few moments where the Algerian needed to get his hands up a little more quickly when on the defensive, but overall this was a very stylish performance from a boxer who is still only 20.
Fact/Stat of the match
This was the best possible outcome for one team in particular… And it wasn’t the Desert Hawks. The fact that the Condors took a point form the Hawks in the match means that the happiest team in the WSB tonight is the USA Knockouts, who now look ever more secure in their hopes to make it to the Playoffs. Whether they are still smiling after their match later on this weekend with Team Germany is of course another thing. Don’t forget you can watch that match and all the weekend’s other action on www.AIBAboxingTV.com
Reda Benbaziz was in fine form against Brian Nuñez of Argentina. The Hawks fighter looked composed throughout. He was significantly stronger than his opponent and in many ways bullied him in the ring. The Argentinian was not interested in playing the victim however, and the bout quickly became very scrappy. The Hawks’ boxer floored the visiting Argentinian with a nice shot and was generally considered to be the more aggressive and cleaner boxer by the judges. This was great news for Benbaziz, but bad news for Nuñez who now goes to 0-4 in the WSB.
Hazma Beguerni made his debut for the Algeria Desert Hawks against the more experienced Facundo Ghiglione of the Condors at Super Heavyweight. The Argentinian came into the ring with a 1-4 record, but looked absolutely enormous and lean. He had a solid jab too and at times looked commanding. But the local boxer was more fluid and offered a greater variety of shots. The bout became a little scrappy as it wore on, and in the final round the Algerian boxer looked almost out on his feet with both men staggering with exhaustion back to their corners. It was an exceptional effort by both fighters but it was the Argentinian that took the win.
Coming up next
The Algeria Desert Hawks now face the most demanding of uphill struggles against the group leaders, the Ukraine Otamans in Kiev next week, to keep the pressure on the USA Knockouts. Meanwhile the Argentina Condors are hosting Team Germany.
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