Mexico 2-3 Kazakhstan, Defiant last stand

Lausanne, Feb 8, 2014: The Mexico Guerreros put in a heroic last effort against the defending champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan as they battled in Week 8 to keep their hopes of a Playoffs place alive. The Arlans were clinical though and eventually managed to outscore the Season III semi-finalists.

The result means that the Mexico Guerreros become the second casualty of the World Series of Boxing’s (WSB) so called “Group of Death” after Season III quarter-finalists, the Hussars Poland, and will not now make it past the group stages this year. But the Guerreros, as you would expect, certainly went down in a blaze of glory.

We had the Flyweights (52kg), Lightweights (60kg), Welterweights (69kg), Light Heavyweights (81kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg) contesting this match.

Bout of the match

Lindolfo Delgado got the result of his young WSB career when he caused an upset against Samat Bashenov. The 19 year old Guerrero has only made one other WSB appearance against the Hussars Poland, where as Bashenov came into the bout at 6-3. To give you some sense of how highly Bashenov is regarded by the Astana Arlans, suffice to say that it was he who was given the responsibility of facing Olympic Champion Vasyl Lomachenko in last year’s Finals. The two orthodox boxers were light on their toes and boxed at range. The Kazakh’s jab was excellent in the early stages, but importantly Delgado was willing to mix it up from the beginning with his more senior opponent. The bout remained close going into the fifth round but Delgado’s youthful energy began to swing the momentum in his direction as he took a tight decision.

Boxer of the match

Manat Omerzakov made one of the most spectacular WSB debuts in history when he took on and beat three season veteran Marvin Cabrera at Welterweight. The Mexican had only previously lost one match, and entered the ring with a 7-1 record. Cabrera was also the number one ranked Middleweight in the old weight category (68-73kg) last season. The 23 year old Kazakh boxer looked very loose despite that as he battled the southpaw.

He showed very good head movement and intelligent footwork as he hunted for the outside angles, making particularly good use of his lead left hook which he threw from an unpredictable low guard. His fitness and work rate were excellent throughout. Moreover, this was a critical bout in the contest. With the Mexicans leading the match 2-0, a loss would have handed the win to the Guerreros. This then was an epic win for the Arlans’ new man.

The turning point

If the change in the flow of the match began with Omerzakov, then it was Super Heavyweight Croatian Filip Hrgovic who hammered the final nail in the Mexican coffin when he took on the Guerreros’ Renat Rahimov. The Uzbek Guerreros boxer looked OK in the first round against his much taller Arlans opponent, though he took a standing eight count after bouncing off the ropes and into a solid right hand. By round two he was looking extremely reluctant and he was dropped in the corner by the big Croatian. The Mexican coach wisely chose to protect his boxer and placed the towel on the top rope. He deserves credit for this, as it handed all the points to the visitors.

Quote of the match

“Debut or not, if you are good enough to box for the Astana Arlans then…you are good!” – Our Commentator on Manat Omerzakov.

Wrap up

2013 WSB Boxer of the year Elias Emigdio led his team out to the perfect start at Flyweight against the very talented Miras Zhakupov and earned a comfortable TKO victory to bring his WSB record to 16-3.

Petru Ciobanu had a tough bout against Hrvoje Sep. The Croatian boxer ground out his victory for the Arlans in what was unspectacular but effective boxing style to pull the bout level in this battle of attrition.

Coming up next

The Mexico Guerreros will probably start to build for the future in their away match in Poland next weekend, whilst the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan will face their toughest match of the season so far, away to the Cuba Domadores.

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