WSB Season IV champions Cuba Domadores bounced back from their defeat to Ukraine Otamans a fortnight ago with a comprehensive 5-0 whitewash of Turkiye Conquerors on Friday night. It was the Cubans’ first home match of the current campaign, and Havana provided a predictably testing atmosphere for a Turkish side now with just one win in five.
Evren TIBUKOGLU (Türkiye Conquerors) vs Arlen LOPEZ (Cuba Domadores)
The tone was set for a difficult evening for the visitors as the hosts’ 24 year-old light flyweight Santiago Amador dazzled Conquerors’ Tolgahan Ozturk in the opening bout with some trademark fast footwork and rapid combinations. Debutant Ozturk, a last-minute replacement for Hamza Kartal, could find no answer across the five rounds, and a unanimous points decision gave Cuba the 1-0 lead.
The Domadores’ AIBA Youth World Champion Javier Ibanez Diaz, standing in for London 2012 Olympic Champion Robeisy Ramirez, then made a spectacular WSB debut. The bantamweight looked nervous during a tactical opening exchange with Turkey’s Nurettin Ovat, but grew in stature as the contest wore on, and with Ovat first on the floor and then on the ropes in the third round, his corner had no choice but to end the bout early and the hosts found themselves 2-0 up.
The match was put out of reach when Domadores’ London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Yasniel Toledo Lopez out-manoeuvered Yakup Sener with a controlled points win. What followed proved even more emphatic, with Cuban middleweight Arlen Lopez’s landing a perfect left jab early in the second round to secure a quick TKO win over Evren Tibukoglu and have his team cruising at 4-0.
A superb duel between two tough heavyweights rounded off the night in Havana, with Domadores’ Frank Sanchez and Conquerors’ Seyda Keser both going into the ring undefeated in Season VI. The Cuban, one of the hardest hitters in the weight class, managed to keep Keser’s attacks at bay and his stamina ultimately proved decisive, earning a deserved points win and Cuba a third whitewash of the season. All eyes will now be back on Havana on 31 March, when the city welcomes Ukraine Otamans for a decisive top-of-the-table clash.