Week 7, Group A: Battle of the Americas

Lausanne, Jan 31, 2014: With the match between the table topping Ukraine Otamans and third placed Team Germany postponed to Friday 14th, the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder have the chance to close the gap on the group leaders. Meanwhile, both the USA Knockouts and the Argentina Condors will be meeting in a crunch match at the bottom of the table. Should the Condors win, they will find themselves back in third place, meanwhile the Knockouts could also scrape into a Playoffs slot should they grab a surprise win away from home.

This looks set to be an intriguing match with both teams fielding some excellent talent. The hosts will be looking to Super Heavyweight (91+kg) Luis Bravo to lead the team with his 2-2 record. His opponent, Mohamed Sallah from Sweden, is not likely to be a pushover however as he is making his second WSB appearance, after having won his debut against the Ukraine Otamans. One to watch out for is Lightweight (60kg) Brian Nuñez. His 0-3 WSB record doesn’t look that special on paper, but when you see who the 20 year old Argentinian has had to face in his first few bouts, you may forgive him.

His debut was against former World Champion and current World silver medallist Robson Conceição of Brazil and the Italia Thunder, his second bout was against the 2012 Olympian and up-and-coming Otamans star Pavlo Ishchenko, and his most recent bout was against four-season veteran Irish boxer David Oliver Joyce. Moreover to give Nuñez credit, he pushed them all hard. His opponent this week, Luis Arcon of the Knockouts, is making his WSB debut this weekend and may find Nuñez a real handful. On the Knockouts side, keep an eye out for Welterweight (69kg) Gabriel Maestre who was extremely impressive in the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty last October where he took a bronze. He was an excellent find for the USA talent scouts and makes his WSB debut this weekend.

Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder vs. Algeria Desert Hawks

With the Italia Thunder having such a strong team this season, it is interesting to note which young boxers they are offering experience to in their line ups. Typically the Italians are sending three top boxers and two up-and-coming young guns to the Regular Season matches this year, in a bid to keep the squad fresh and nurture the talent that is coming through. This week Welterweight Riccardo Pintaudi gets a second bite of the cherry after losing his WSB debut against the dangerous former pro-boxer Brian Castaño of Argentina. His opponent Sofiane Tabi is 0-2 in the WSB and will also want to improve his record. Light Heavyweight (81kg) Dutchman Peter Mullenberg has got off to a better start in his WSB career and looked very good in his debut against the Argentina Condors. His opponent Hichem Kaalaour however lost his debut match in Week 1 against Team Germany and hasn’t made the cut for the team since. Thus he will be looking to prove a point and there could be some fireworks in both these bouts.

The real excitement of course comes from the appearance of star Italia Thunder boxers Vincenzo Picardi (9-2), Domenico Valentino (10-4) and Joseph Joyce (6-1). The English Super Heavyweight Joyce was something of a sensation for the British Lionhearts last season but has only been given one opportunity to box so far this year for the Italia Thunder. He is competing for a place in the team with the likes of the great Mihai Nistor. Consequently, he will want to cement his place in the team’s plans against Algerian debutant Fateh Touahar. Lightweight (60kg) Valentino also has a debutant in Reda Benbaziz, while Picardi has Amine Khentache who has the unfortunate record of 0-3 at Flyweight (52kg). On paper you would expect both Desert Hawks to struggle against two of the best boxers in the WSB, but you never can tell in boxing. —- WSB

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