WSB 2013-14: Ukraine 4-1 Italy: Otamans ease past the Thunder14 December 2013
In a great night of action in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season III, finalists the Ukraine Otamans proved they are still a force to be reckoned with as they ease past the highly rated Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder team to top the group.
The Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg), were the ones in the ring, providing us with the entertainment this evening in Brovary, Ukraine.
Bout of the match
Heavyweight World Champion and ItaliaThundercaptain Clemente Russo looked determined when he took to the ring against Siarhei Karneyeu of the Otamans. At this stage, the Ukrainian Franchise had already taken the match 3-1, but Russo had the chance to give the Italians a point if he could pull the match to 3-2. Karneyeu, a former LA Matadors fighter making his return to the WSB after missing last season, had other ideas however. He was determined to make life difficult for the Italian star. In some ways the Italian’s flamboyant style assisted him in this, but Russo is talented enough to get away with it on most occasions. The 31 year old is in exceptional shape and should have been the more physical of the two, as well as the most experienced, but going into the 5th round the bout was hanging by a thread. The young Ukrainian’s work-rate and dogged persistence saw him make a stunning return to the WSB by taking out its biggest star.
Boxer of the match
In truth this bout and the one above are practically inter-changeable since both feature surprise results from very tightly contested bouts. In this case Evaldas Petrauskas, the 21 year old Lithuanian, took on Italia Thunder’s Branimir Stankovic of Serbia in an impressive bout at Bantamweight. Petrauskas, a former AIBA Road to Dream boxer, made an excellent WSB debut against the three season veteran Stankovic, but then again he is the current Olympic bronze medallist. He is another Ukrainian who operates from a tight guard and is not the kind to tap away at his opponents. Indeed, he only opens his defences to throw shots with the potential to knock his opponents spark-out in one go, usually via massive long range hooks and overhands. By round four the bout was extremely close and Stankovic was told emphatically by his coach to “go to work”, but he was unable to pull ahead despite his best efforts. In the end Petrauskas did enough to steal the win, inflicting only the third defeat on the Serbian in his three seasons in the WSB. It was a truly excellent debut.
The turning point
Michael Tavares was the second Frenchman to take to the ring for the Italia Thunder this evening. The Middleweight southpaw had his hands full in the Otamans’ star boxer Dmytro Mytrofanov. The bout was a critical one with the Otamans 2:1 up at this stage. This meant that Italia Thunder needed a win to stay in the match, whilst of course Mytrofanov could win the whole match for his team. The Ukrainian made really good use of a short lead left hook, which he was able to sneak in at very odd moments, and it was he who took the opening two rounds. This required a response from the Frenchman but try as he might Tavares was unable to provide one. Mytrofanov began to take ever greater control of the fight and with the Italia Thunder star fading, Mytrofanov had become totally dominant by the end of the fifth round. It was another good win for the Ukrainian.
Fact/Stat of the match
Siarhei Karneyeu not only managed to defeat the reigning World Champion tonight, but he also became just the second man to defeat Russo in the WSB after Mihai Nistor (then) of the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan beat him in Week 9 of Season III. Despite being 17-2, this effectively means that the great Italian has now lost two in succession in the WSB.
Vadym Kudryakov took on Gianluca Conselmo of the Italia Thunder in a stunning debut. Both boxers are only 19 years old, so for them to be boxing at this level is extremely impressive. The southpaw Ukrainian worked from a high guard on the inside while the Italian looked best while making use of his jab at range. The Otamans boxer has a very effective lead screw punch with his right hand. In the end it was a great performance by the Ukrainian who gave his opponent a couple of standing eight counts during the bout.
In a night of surprises, French boxer Khedafi Djelkhir caused another against the WSB veteran Mykola Butsenko of the Ukraine Otamans. Though the Frenchman has plenty of experience, this was his WSB debut. He worked well from behind a tight shield, making use of his hooks and uppercuts. He was so successful at this tactic that he forced Butsenko to follow suit and engage with him on these terms alone. Djelkhir looks like an astonishing find for the Italia Thunder, extremely difficult to deal with stylistically; he is absolutely relentless going forward. The bout was so close that the last 30 seconds were potentially still critical for both boxers, and they worked at full throttle for the full five rounds in what was a serious contender for bout of the night. Butsenko was seen praying in his corner at the end, but even that was not enough to prevent an Italia Thunder victory in the bout.
Coming up next
The Italians are on the road again, this time, they will be hoping to pick up points from the USA Knockouts, who won their last home bout against the Argentina Condors. The Otamans meanwhile travel to Algeria to take on the Desert Hawks.
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