London’s York Hall was rocking on Friday night after the British Lionhearts put on another imperious display of WSB boxing for their fans. In maintaining a 100% record at home this season, the team booked a place in the Semi-Finals for the first time in its history, and now looks likely to meet Astana Arlans Kazakhstan after the two-time champions’ 4-1 first-leg win over Venezuela Caciques.
The 4-1 demolition of Ukraine Otamans was a repeat of Thursday’s first-leg result, and it was the hosts’ German draft pick Ronny Beblik who set the ball rolling with a dominant display against the Ukrainian southpaw Denys Shkarubo in the opening flyweight bout. That left one half of the British Lionhearts’ impressive McCormack twins, lightweight star Luke, to settle the quarter-final once and for all with a sublime display in the fourth and fifth rounds against Otamans’ lightweight Vitaly Solyanik, the unanimous win making it 2-0 on the night and 6-1 overall.
There was plenty of boxing left in the tie, though, and Ukraine Otamans’ 20-year-old southpaw welterweight Serhii Bohachuk gave the visitors’ fans something to cheer as he took a brilliant contest with British Lionhearts’ powerful Ekow Tabiri Essuman that ebbed and flowed and lit up York Hall with pure boxing prowess. Another draft pick, Lionhearts’ Bulgarian heavyweight Radoslav Pantaleev returned from injury to take a tough win over Denys Solonenko, leaving the hotly anticipated bout between Frazer Clarke and Vladyslav Sirenko to wrap up a memorable Quarter-Final.
With the tie in the bag, Clarke adopted a patient approach, settling in to a comfortable distance and landing some heavy uppercuts to which his opponent could find no answer. Sirenko grew into the bout, but Clarke always looked one punch away from the win and it eventually came in the fifth, the referee awarding the TKO and a fitting finale to a commanding play-off performance from the British outfit.
Devastating Cuba Domadores seal 10-0 Quarter-Final win over Mexico Guerreros in Havana
The Cuba Domadores showed once again why they are the team to beat in WSB Season VI with a near-flawless Quarter-Final performance against Mexico Guerreros. With the tie standing at 5-0 to the hosts after Thursday’s first leg, the match was settled in uncompromising fashion with a second whitewash on Friday night, setting up a mouthwatering Semi-Final against Uzbek Tigers or Russian Boxing Team.
Cuban maestro Yosbany Veitia Soto was the first in the ring for the hosts and he quickly set about his task, dominating the opening two rounds against the less-experienced Jose Rojas with rapid counter-attacks. A superb combination in the third was enough to win the bout and settle the match, but there was still plenty of boxing talent left to come.
Three-time AIBA World Champion Lazaro Alvarez and Lindolfo Delgado put on a masterful show of lightweight skill for the crowd, the Guerreros star surprising Alvarez with some clever work early on. The Cuban hero took control in the final rounds, though, powering through to a unanimous points win.
In the southpaw bout of the day, Cuba’s London 2012 Olympic Champion Roniel Iglesias cruised to victory against Mexico’s Marvin Cabrera at welterweight, before the home side’s other triple World Champion, captain Julio Cesar La Cruz, successfully navigated his way past tricky light heavyweight Rogelio Romero.
The 10-0 victory was completed in style by Leinier Pero, who stopped Mexico’s US-based Elvis Garcia in the third round of their super heavyweight bout, meaning that the Domadores reach the Semi-Finals having dropped just three points so far this season. That impressive form is likely to be given a more thorough examination in the next round, however, as the Cubans wait to hear who they face after Saturday night’s Quarter-Final second leg between Russian Boxing Team and Uzbek Tigers.