News from the World Series of Boxing dominates Amateur Boxing news this weekend. You will be hearing and seeing more about many of these as the Olympics draw ever closer.
Two matches took place last night the return legs of the WSB quarter-finals. Dynamo Moscow faced Leipzig Leopards with a huge advantage coming into the tie in Russia, before all eyes turned to the exciting clash between the Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder and Paris United.
Moscow vs. Leipzig:
Dynamo Moscow came into Friday’s action with a 5:0 cushion from the first leg but were determined to put on a show for their expectant fans. How the home crowd must enjoy seeing 27-year-old Vazgen Safaryants in the ring, the Belarusian southpaw is one of the best all-round boxers in this competition and once again he put in a clinic in the Lightweight bout. On the receiving end of this perfect display was triple Danish Champion Rashid Kassem who had no answer to the speed and accuracy of the powerful Safaryants.
In the evening’s Middleweight showdown, Aleksandr Ivanov continued his rich vein of form as he extended his WSB unbeaten record to four wins no losses. The 26-year-old Russian struggled in the early stages against the elusive Dutchman Stephen Danyo, but found his range to connect with some telling hooks. It was gripping to watch with both orthodox fighters throwing a lot of punches, in the end though the savvy Ivanov proved his class to triumph.
Rising Russian star Eduard Yakushev was in a real battle in the Light Heavyweight contest as WSB newcomer Sergey Mikhel put up a strong resistance in Moscow. Both fighters were almost impossible to separate on the scorecards but Yakushev seemed to be connecting with the cleaner shots and in the end was awarded the victory by split decision.
The Heavyweight bout was for the neutral a formality but the Russian coaching staff had expressed a desire to make it a whitewash and send a clear message to the rest of their rivals in the competition, that no-one would be taken lightly. 22-year-old Arslanbek Makhmudov snatched victory in the last contest of the evening and his bruising encounter with Germany’s Eric Brechlin will sure have pleased the crowd. Dynamo Moscow were emphatic once again, securing a 10:0 aggregate scoreline, they will be full of confidence coming into the next phase of the competition.
Milano vs. Paris:
The awesome Italian outfit Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder were down 2:3 on aggregate coming into their match with Paris United but were favourites to progress to the latter stages of the competition, having the home advantage this time. Paris United, on the other hand, have had an underwhelming campaign so far and after having spoken all season about coming strong in the knock-out stages, the Franchise fighting out of the French capital handed the initiative back to Milano early on.
When the Bantamweight contest was declared a walk-over and the victory awarded to crowd favourite Vincenzo Picardi, there was a sense that Milano would do the job on the night.
A classy Miklos Varga showed some nifty footwork to deal with the threat of the taller Frenchman Lahcen Fatah, hurting his opponent with some quality combination punches as the Hungarian took all five rounds on all three judges’ scorecards to win the contest. The supporters at the Mediolanum Forum were as delighted as Head Coach Damiani with the quality of the show on offer. It was a really absorbing Lightweight fight.
Pedro Lima from Brazil, quite a character in the Milano squad, had been working hard whilst waiting for his chance to impress. This was his night to do just that, taking to the ring on Friday, highly motivated and with a spring in his step, the 25-year-old former Beijing Dragons Middleweight was all over his rival Farrhad Saad from the first bell. He unleashed several defence penetrating uppercuts on his way to a comprehensive victory over the confident French teenager. The Brazilian was all smiles after the win, raising his two hands towards the sky to the raucous applause of the crowd.
28-year-old Imre Szello, an experienced campaigner, made his both his reach and height work to his advantage in his Light Heavyweight battle with Paris United’s Frenchman Nicolas Dion. Szello’s powerful body shots put Dion is trouble in the second round and as he grew in confidence, the Hungarian was picking his shots with the right uppercut and hook doing the most damage. Dion ensured that his presence was also felt with a solid performance of his own but it was Szello who in the end took a convincing win with a controlled display.
The night got worse for Paris United as Heavyweight Ibrahima Mariko was unable to take part and Clemente Russo was awarded the win by walk-over. The Italian outfit triumphed 5:0 on the night with the overall aggregate score at 7:3, as Milano progressed into the semi-finals with ease.