#WSBV Day 13 – A classic in Kyiv is anticipated when Ukraine Otamans meet Russian Boxing Team16 April 2015
Ukraine Otamans host Russian Boxing Team in a key World Series of Boxing (WSB) match with plenty of team and individual glory on the line.
The Ukrainian Franchise are currently third in Group A, two points ahead of Mexico Guerreros and four behind second placed Russia.
With Cuba Domadores having already won the group, the battle for second is all important because the team that finishes in that position will have home advantage in the quarter-finals, while the third ranked team will fight away from home.
This is the penultimate round of the Regular Season, and for the weight classes competing in Kyiv it is their last match of the group stages, which means that those fighters hoping to achieve a Rio 2016 Olympic Games quota through WSB need to win.
Sports Palace, Kyiv is the venue for this Group A clash, where on Friday 17th April fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 21:30 (GMT +3) at AIBABoxingTV.com.
Unlike many of the weight divisions in WSB, only one Olympic quota is available for the Light flyweights (49 kg) where Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov is currently second in the rankings.
The 6-0 star has been one of the best boxers for the Ukrainian team this season, but is two points behind Ireland’s Patrick Barnes in the race to Rio.
To have any chance of overtaking Barnes, Dusmatov will have to defeat Russia’s 0-1 Belik Galanov whose lone appearance of Season V was a losing effort to Cuba’s Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez.
Dusmatov has been a points machine this season, and has won by unanimous decision five times.
The Uzbek star controls matches from the outset and is very evasive, but there is a chance he may utilise a more aggressive style in this match to ensure a decisive victory.
Russia’s 5-0 Vladimir Nikitin is second in the Bantamweight (56 kg) rankings, where he currently sits in an Olympic quota place with one match to go.
The Russian fighter has won four of his five matches at home, with his lone away appearance resulting in a split decision victory over Mexico’s Sergio Alfredo Chirino Sánchez.
Nikitin is three points ahead of third placed Michael Conlan, which means a win by points or via stoppage will earn him an Olympic quota.
His opponent in Kiev is 0-1 Omurbek Malabekov who lost to Andy Cruz Gomez in week seven of the competition.
Malabekov is an experienced boxer who has already competed in three AIBA World Championships at the age of 23, and will see this match as a chance to make a name for himself in WSB.
Ukraine have yet to win a match at Light welterweight (64 kg) in six attempts this season, so 0-2 Volodymyr Matviichuk carries their last chance to accomplish a victory at the weight class when he meets Russian National Championships bronze medallist Grigorii Lizunenko.
Next up is a Middleweight (75 kg) shootout where the winner of the fight will give themselves a fantastic chance of qualifying for Rio, while the loser will almost certainly lose their Olympic dreams for the time being.
Russia’s Petr Khamukov is one of the most powerful boxers in WSB, and the number one ranked Middleweight (75 kg) has stopped four of his five opponents this season.
Although Khamukov tops the Middleweight standings, he has the same number of points as Arlen Lopez, Tomasz Jablonski and his last opponent of the Regular Season, Hurshidbek Normatov.
Both fighters have identical 5-0 records, and each has 25 points in the rankings, which means there is very little to split the two boxers in this competition.
With four fighters carrying the same points total, plus Meiirim Nursultanov just a further point behind, there is also a chance that if this fight finishes as a split decision, both boxers will fall outside of the top two.
That fact makes a fascinating contest even more intriguing as it matches the brute strength and power of Khamukov with the pure boxing style of Normatov, who has gone the distance in four of his five fights so far.
Will Khamukov seek to end the fight early as he has done so often this season, or will Normatov manage to avoid the power and concentrate on his own fluid style?
The last bout of the evening is at Heavyweight (91 kg) where both competitors make their first appearance in Season V as Ukraine’s Gevorg Manukyan faces Russia’s WSB veteran Sergey Kalchugin.