Astana Arlans reach WSB semi-finals

ASTANA – The Astana Arlans boxing club of Kazakhstan recently defeated the Russian Patriot Boxing Team after two matches and reached the World Series of Boxing (WSB) semi-finals. A week earlier, the Arlans took a 3-2 win in Kemerovo. The return quarterfinal match took place in Karaganda and again ended with the Kazakh victory.

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Photo credit: astanaarlans.kz.

The first three fights were enough for the Arlans to secure a berth in the tournament’s next round. First, Olzhas Sattibayev (up to 52 kg) beat Ivan Abramov. Then Zakir Safiullin (60 kg) defeated Shahrier Ahmedov and Aslanbek Shymbergenov (69 kg) beat Shahabas Mahmudov.

The 81kg bout was particularly difficult between Arman Rysbek and Imam Hataev. Both boxers showed spectacular boxing with many blows. In a close competition, the home team’s boxer clinched the win. In the end, the Russian team only managed to win one bout. Patriot boxer Artem Suslenkov defeated Dmitry Zisko of Kazakhstan, who made his debut. Thus, Arlans reached the tournament semi-finals, where they will fight the British Lionhearts. The semi-finals will take place June 2-3 and 9-10.

“We imagined it wouldn’t be easy. I want to thank our guys for the good job. They had a good fight and deserved the win. Our experienced boxers Olzhas Sattybayev, Zakir Safiullin and Aslanbek Shymbergenov met the expectations. So did Arman Rysbek, who showed a great desire to win. As for Dmitry Zisko, it was his debut in WSB and his opponent was very strong, so it was very hard to win. Soon we will compete against the British team, which didn’t let us into the finals last year, and we wish to take our revenge for the last season’s defeat,” said Astana Arlans’ head coach Nurlan Akurpekov.

WSB is a league that sees the world’s best amateur boxers competing in teams without headgear and using the scoring system of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA). According to the WSB website, the appearance of the league “reunited the broader boxing world and its grassroots amateur foundation by providing a bridge between Olympic Boxing and a future professional programme within the AIBA family.”

AIBA wholly owns WSB. All WSB boxers are registered with AIBA and all referees and officials working WSB matches are specifically certified for the competition. Franchises have a national identity and are formed by national federations. Teams are allowed a quota of overseas boxers: a maximum of eight and no more than three of the same nationality.

Teams compete in the 10 AIBA standard weight categories. The regular season takes the form of a league phase, with the teams facing each other home and away in alternating weight categories. The top teams continue to the playoff stages. Teams representing franchises across the globe compete in a league format leading to playoffs and a final. The boxers compete in five three-minute rounds and five bouts per match.

The Astana Arlans club was founded in 2010. In the first season, the club’s boxers proved themselves as one of the strongest teams in the world. The team is a two-time WSB champion. It won the third season in 2012-2013 and the fifth season in 2014-2015. With two titles apiece, Arlans and Cuba’s Domadores lead the league in titles won.