Luis Martin Arcon Diaz vs Samat Bashenov (lighweight category).The 5th seasons of the World Series Boxing kicked off the past week. For the Kazakhstani team Astana Arlans the new seasons started with a fight against newcomers - the Venezuela Caciques from Venezuela, tengrinews reports.
This season the Wolves (Arlan means wolf in Kazakh) saw some changes in the management of the team as the former Director Bolat Mankekov and the Head Coach Sergey Korchinsky stepped down to give way to the Olympic Champion Serik Sapiev and Marat Jakiev, the coach of the Silver Olympic Medalist Adilbek Niyazymbetov. But the changes did not faze the team. Experienced and reliable fighters from the Kazakhstani club stepped in the ring with confidence of the former champions to claim the championship title once again.
The Alpha Wolves tore Cacique warriors apart with 5:0 at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace in Almaty on January 17.
Mardan Berikbayev faced Yeol Segundo Finol Rival in the flyweight category (-49 kg). Berikbayev had a successful debut in the 4th season and proved to be a reliable, steady boxer. In the fight against the Venezuelan boxer, Berikbayev showed some great combinations and footwork. Finol Rival previously competed in the AIBA Youth World Championships. This was a serious challenge for the young Venezuelan fighter. Berikbayev won Finol Rival with 50:45, 49:46, 48:47 brining the first victory to Kazakhstan on the boxing night.
In the bantam weight (-56 kg), a veteran Wolf Meirbolat Toitov fought against Jose Vincente Diaz Azocar. In the first round Toitov approached Diaz Azocar with caution. The Venezuelan showed good footwork and connected some aggressive punches. But Toitov threw a left hook catching Diaz Azocar in the liver. The Venezuelan hit the canvas with his knee in the knockdown on the 2:13 minute of the 1st round. Toitov outclassed his less experienced opponent in all 5 rounds. The Arlan defeated the Venezuelan warrior with 49:46, 50:45, 50:44. “I cannot say that I performed my best today. I was nervous because it was the first fight of the fifth season. Moreover, the opponent was new to me and we could not find any videos of his fights online. But generally speaking the first fight went well. We prepared thoroughly,” Toitov told Sports.kz after the fight.
In the decider fight of the night, the Captain of the Kazakh Wolves Samat Bashenov fought against Luis Martin Arcon Diaz in the lightweight category (-64 kg). Arcon Diaz ranked 5th in the lightweight category (- 60 kg) according to AIBA, previously represented the US Knockouts in the lightweight category. Bashenov dominated the ring throughout all rounds cornering Arcon Diaz. The Venezuelan seemed tired in the last two rounds, while the Kazakh boxer kept the momentum going. Bashenov won the fight (49:46, 49:46, 48:47) and brought the victory to the Astana Arlans (3:0).
The following fight in the middleweight category (- 75 kg) was easier on the Arlans, because they had already won the night. But Venezuelans needed to earn points and the last two fights were their only chance. Meirim Nursultanov who previously competed in the welterweight (-69 kg) faced Juan Carlos Rodriguez Patino, a top Venezuelan boxer. Taller Nursultanov had an advantage as he could keep his opponent at a distance. Rodriguez kept swinging cross punches at Nursultanov, while the Kazakhstani ducked away as if reading his opponent. Nursultanov was swift and threw his graceful yet deadly jabs. Rodriguez was frankly worn out in the third round. In the fourth round the Venezuelan coaches threw in a towel and Nursultanov won with his first ever TKO in the third round.
The final fight of the night was highly anticipated. Vassily Levit got in the ring more powerfully built and confident than during his début season last year. The undefeated superstar heavyweight (-91 kg) capped for Kazakhstan faced a debutant Alfonso Jose Flores Millan. Levit attacked aggressively with strong combination punches brining Flores Millan to the ropes. Though speed is not usually expected of heavyweights, Levit showcased fast yet heavy crosses and jabs. In the end of the third round Flores Millan was barely holding Levit’s unending attacks. The round ended with a knockdown for the Venezuelan boxer followed by a TKO announcement. Vassily Levit won the fight against Alfonso Jose Flores Millan and brought the fifth victory to his team.
The Astana Arlans crushed the newcomers Venezuela Caciques with 5:0.
The 5th season of the WSB is geographically more extended then the previous seasons. This will certainly take a toll on the fighters who have to travel longer distances and adapt to local conditions in a short span of time. It might have been the case for the Venezuelans who travelled to Kazakhstan for their debut fight.
But as the competition growth stronger with more boxing teams joining this season, the World Series Boxing promises the most exciting season yet. No excuses accepted.
Next the Arlans are traveling to Lublin, Poland to face the Raffako Hussars Poland on January 23.