Lausanne, Switzerland, March 31, 2014 – The Russian Boxing Team inflicted a huge blow on the Ukraine Otamans’ hopes of progressing to a second successive semi-final in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
Had the Ukrainians, who finished as runners-up last season, managed to secure just one more win, then they would go into next weekend’s second leg in a very solid position. Russia however seized on the home advantage to dominate the evening’s affairs in Moscow. This now leaves the lethal Russian side needing just two wins from the remaining five bouts, to secure their passage to the next stage of the competition.
The Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) contested this match.
Bout of the match
Vladimir Nikitin and Mykola Butsenko put on one of the most intense bouts we have seen in the WSB this year at Bantamweight. The southpaw Butsenko looked extremely assertive against the reigning World silver medallist. The orthodox Russian boxer however, operated in his usual style, using a tight guard, big right hand and lots of forward pressure to dominate the bout. He took to the centre of the ring and forced the Ukrainian onto the back foot. And in a wonderful contrast of styles, it was the front foot Russian who took the bout.
Boxer of the match
Denys Berinchyk of the Ukraine Otamans and Radzhab Butaev of Team Russia gave us another awesome bout at Light Welterweight. The taller Russian managed to disrupt the rhythm and flow of the much more experienced Ukrainian. As the London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, the Otamans boxer struggled stylistically with the reach of the Russian who prevented him from closing with his jab, before immediately clinching to reduce the time in Berinchyk’s ideal range. Despite a strong last round from the Ukrainian, Butaev did enough to hang on for the win. It was in reality quite the turn-up for the books, with the Russian claiming his first ever WSB win.
The turning point
Middleweights Artem Chebotarev and Dmytro Mytrofanov were the pick of the bunch on paper, and they didn’t disappoint in the ring either. Mytrofanov had a 10-2 record coming in, including a win in last year’s Finals, and had not been defeated since Week 1 of last year’s Regular Season in 2012. But Chebotarev has been impressive so far in his WSB career and he made excellent use of his reach advantage. If Berinchyk struggled with the taller fighter in the previous bout, then Mytrofanov at least put on a display of how to deal with one. Bobbing and weaving, changing the angles and keeping the fight in the mid-distance range, he cramped the space of the Russian. Yet the local boxer was still able to score sufficiently to prevent the Otamans boxer from getting into a groove. This proved dangerous for Mytrofanov and in the end, Chebotarev took the bout.
Fact/Stat of the match
In the last three bouts of the night, the Ukrainian boxers gave up 30 cm in height to their Russian opponents, who capitalised on the reach advantage.
Quote of the match
“Berinchyk is going to have to be a lot more circumspect with his choice of target, he is just throwing a lot of wild flailing shots at the moment” (round two) – WSB Commentator Simon Golding
Evgeniy Tischenko of Team Russia and Siarhei Karneyeu put in a classic Heavyweight battle. Coming into the bout, the Otaman from Belarus was unbeaten in the WSB with a record of 6-0, whilst the taller Russian was also unbeaten at 1-0. Although the Otamans boxer pressed relentlessly, the better accuracy and footwork of the Russian meant that he was out-pointed relatively comfortably.
David Ayrapetyan of the Russian Boxing Team took on Hasanboy Dusmatov at Light Flyweight. The two southpaw boxers were extremely focused and set the tempo for the evening’s later bouts. Neither boxer gave an inch across the three rounds. The Russian is a former World silver medallist and is the current Olympic bronze medallist. Dusmatov, who is an Uzbek boxing for the Ukrainians, caused his own turn-up for the books when he beat him.
Coming up next
The second leg of this quarter-final match will take place in Donetsk, Ukraine on April 4. The Otamans will need to win at least four of the bouts to force the match into a tiebreaker, which incidentally is exactly how they lost last year’s Finals.
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