#APB Ivanov and Benchabla strive for APB Light Heavyweight success in Italy27 June 2015
The final two Light Heavyweight (81 kg) matches of AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Cycle I Round 1 will take place on Saturday night at Palazzetto dello Sport , Manerba del Garda.
Fifth ranked 2013 European Champion Nikita Ivanov (RUS) will meet 28-year-old Abdelhafid Benchabla (ALG) in Italy, and their match is expected to produce an entertaining contest.
Ivanov began his APB career with two very impressive victories over Joseph Ward (IRE) and Light Heavyweight Champion Ehsan Rouzbahani (IRI), but suffered a brace of stoppage defeats to finish the Ranking Phase with a 2-2 record.
Although Benchabla will be making his APB debut against Ivanov, the Algerian is a very experienced competitor, having competed at two Olympic Games, and the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
The longer round experience that Benchabla gained in WSB will serve him well here, but the Cycle 1 matches will consist of eight rounds apiece, which is a distance neither man has ever completed before.
An interesting clash of styles makes this bout particularly interesting, with Ivanov enjoying an abundance of strength and a phenomenally high punch output, while Benchabla has the ability to fight comfortably at distance or in the pocket, which makes him a dangerous opponent in this format.
With two crushing TKO losses in a row, Ivanov will have to decide which tactics he uses in the contest, as he may well be wary of leaving his defenses exposed too often.
He will have to attack at some point however, so it remains to be seen whether Benchabla has the power to make it a trio of stoppage setbacks, or if the African fighter will box for a points victory instead.
The winner of the clash will next meet either Serge Michel (GER) or Oybek Mamazulunov (UZB) in Cycle I Round 2.
Michel defeated Mamazulunov at the end of January despite losing two of the first three rounds, and will be eager to claim a second triumph over his tough Uzbek opponent.
- Nikita IVANOV (RUS) vs Abdelhafid BENCHABLA (ALG)
- Serge MICHEL (GER) vs Oybek MAMAZULUNOV (UZB)