#WSBV Day 13 – An Olympic venue will define Rio dreams when British Lionhearts host Cuba Domadores16 April 2015
World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV Champions Cuba Domadores have continued their dominance of the competition into the fifth season of WSB with 12 consecutive victories.
Because of their undefeated record, the Cubans have built up an unassailable lead at the top of Group A which means they will qualify straight through to the semi-finals stage of Season V without having to compete in the quarter-finals.
This will be the last home fixture of the Regular Season for the Lionhearts who cannot make the knockout rounds, and it will be held at the Copper Box Arena which was used in the London 2012 Olympic Games as a multi-sport venue.
Many of the Cuban boxers who will be fighting in London harbour serious aspirations of reaching the next Olympic Games in Rio 2016, and they have a chance of becoming eligible for an Olympic quota from their National Federation if they finish high enough in the WSB individual rankings.
Viewers from around the world can watch the action live, free and on demand from 20:00 at AIBABoxingTV.com.
The action begins at Light flyweight (49 kg) where Britain’s Joseph Maphosa makes his WSB debut against Cuba’s 4-2 Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez.
20-year-old Maphosa is a burgeoning talent who famously defeated 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Haroon Khan early on in his career, and possesses fast hands and a smart boxing brain.
His Cuban opponent is ranked fifth at Light flyweight this season, and would be higher if not for his poor away record.
Perez is tremendously skillful fighter who is one of the speediest boxers in all of WSB, and if he can replicate his home form in London it could be a tough night for the debuting Brit.
An excellent Bantamweight (56 kg) clash follows between Britain’s 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Sean McGoldrick and Cuba’s undefeated Andy Cruz Gomez.
McGoldrick became the first Welsh fighter to win in WSB this season two weeks ago when he defeated Algeria’s Fahem Hammachi, and the Lionheart will look for his second successive WSB win in London.
Cruz Gomez has been excellent in this campaign, and the hard working stylist has won three of his four matches away from home.
The fifth ranked Bantamweight has an outside chance of earning an Olympic quota through WSB, but he will have to rely on the top four fighters ranked above him in the weight class to slip up.
Cuban Light welterweight (64 kg) Yasniel Toledo has a better chance of finishing in the top two in his weight division, as the fourth ranked boxer is just one point behind Vincenzo Mangiacapre and Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev.
5-0 in Season V, Toledo is level on points with Mexico’s third placed Raúl Curiel García which means he will need a dominant victory over Britain’s 3-2 Samuel Maxwell in his last match of the group stages.
2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Maxwell is a tremendously tenacious fighter who has been involved in many entertaining fights this season and is currently on a two fight winning streak.
Can the crowd pleasing home star upset Toledo’s dreams, or will the Olympic Games bronze medalist and two-time AIBA World Championships silver medalist show his class in London?
Britain’s Troy Williamson makes his first WSB appearance at Middleweight (75 kg) and the Lionheart faces Cuba’s 5-1 Arlen Lopez.
Williamson is a front-footed counterpuncher, while Lopez possesses power, having stopped two of his six opponents this season.
Lopez is currently ranked second at Middleweight and placed in an important Olympic quota berth, but is one of four fighters on 25 points, with Meiirim Nursultanov just one further point behind.
With this being the last match of the Regular Season for all the weight classes in action, Lopez will need a decisive victory to stay in the top two places, but may find the elusive Williamson a tough opponent to get through.
Only one Olympic quota through WSB is available for the Heavyweights (91 kg), so second ranked Erislandy Savon needs to ideally stop 0-4 Lionheart Ionut-Mirel Jitaru.
The British Franchise have not won a single match at Heavyweight this season, and this is their last chance to do so.
Savon was named as the best WSB boxer of Season IV, and the Cuban boxer has remained undefeated in Season V with six straight victories which has put him level on points with Kazakhstan’s Vasiliy Levit.
A tall boxer with every attribute in the book, Savon narrowly lost to Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua in the first round of London 2012, so will be eager to make his mark against Romania’s Jitaru who has offered toughness, but not much else in his four losing efforts this season.