Lausanne, April 5, 2014: Defending World Series of Boxing (WSB) Champions, the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan cruised to a quarter-finals victory over Team Germany in an excellent night’s boxing in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Coming into the bout with a 3-2 advantage following their away win in Germany last weekend, the “Alpha Wolves” were always the favourites today. The result meant that the score across the two legs was 8-2 on aggregate, which will be a clear warning to their rivals that the Champions mean business again this year.
The Flyweights (52kg), Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg), Light Heavyweights (81kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg) contested this match.
Bout of the match
Samat Bashenov and Artur Bril put on an excellent display for the crowd in the Almaty Sports Palace. Bril has an unusual style and he certainly had his moments of brilliance. He moved his head consistently and boxed with his hands low much of the time, his unorthodox style made him tricky to predict for the more classic boxer Bashenov. This meant that the opening two rounds were both split decisions. In round three however, Bril’s strategy began to cause him problems after he got caught on several occasions, but failed to adjust his tactics. Bril clearly has the heart, and as the 2010 World and Olympic Youth Champion, the talent needed to be a top boxer. But his third round defensive misjudgement ultimately swung the tide of the bout irredeemably in the favour of the Kazakh.
Boxer of the match
Super-Heavyweight Erik Pfeifer got a warm reception from the knowledgeable boxing fans in Almaty, in the very arena where the German won his World bronze medal in October. On that occasion Pfeifer was besieged for autographs as he left the stadium, such is the esteem in which he is held in Kazakhstan. His opponent Ruslan Myrsatayevwas no pushover however and the crowd’s affection for Pfeifer didn’t prevent them from throwing their significant weight behind their local boxer. Pfeifer came into this bout unbeaten in the WSB, but Myrsatayev got the best of him today, taking his record to 13-5 in the WSB, and earning himself a place among the big guns in the league.
The turning point
Germany’s Vjaceslav Kerber and the Arlans’ Meirim Nursultanov were very closely matched at Welterweight. The German had a good season so far coming into the bout, winning both of his fights. Nursultanov gradually began to edge ahead however and it was he who took the bout. It was not the most spectacular boxing of the evening, but the result did ensure that it was the defending champions who progressed to the next round of the competition, ejecting Germany in the process. That made it the defining moment of the evening in any event.
Quote of the match
“Serge Michel is built like a boxer, but has the mentality of a fighter and against this man [Hrvoje Sep] that can get you in trouble […] You can’t fight Sep, you have got to box him” – WSB Commentator, sums up Serge Michel’s difficulties
Croatian superstar Hrvoje Sep put his 14-6 WSB record on the line once more for the Champions against Germany’s Serge Michel. The German has had a good run this season winning both his bouts prior to this match, including one by TKO. The two boxers have met before, in Week 5 of Season III. On that occasion it was the Arlans boxer who was victorious. Sep again imposed his own style of fighting on the bout, closing the range and battering away up close. Michel showed glimpses of brilliance but it was not enough to beat the energy-sapping approach of the Arlans’ boxer.
Miras Zhakupov of the Arlans put Ronny Beblik under serious pressure in their bout at Flyweight. The Kazakh boasted a record of 5-2, while the German came to the ring with the unfortunate record of 0-5. Though the German boxer was game, he was ultimately out-gunned by his Kazakh opponent.
Coming up next
The Astana Arlans Kazakhstan must now wait to see whether they will face Season II winners, the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder or fellow Group B graduates, the Azerbaijan Baku Fires. That match takes place later tonight with the “Bad Boys” from Azerbaijan going in with a 5-0 head start following their success last weekend in Baku. —- WSB