The Astana Arlans satisfied the thirsty-for-victory home crowd by claiming its second World Series of Boxing (WSB) title. The team capped season five in Astana June 20-21 by defeating the Cuba Domadores 6-4 on aggregate.
Kazakh Temirtas Zhussupov beat Joahnys Argilagos in the first bout in the light fly category (up to 49 kilogrammes), while bantamweight boxer (56 kilogrammes) Kairat Yeraliyev lost to 2012 London Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez. With the score tied, Arlans captain Samat Bashenov managed to get the home team ahead in the next bout by beating Yasnier Toledo in light welter (64 kilogrammes). In the middleweight category (75 kilogrammes), Meiirim Nursultanov clinched the first leg of victory by defeating Arlen Lopez. Heavyweight boxer (91 kilogrammes) Kazakhstan’s Vasily Levitt saw his first defeat this season, losing to Erislandy Savon. The first day was finished, with the Kazakh team ahead 3-2, but it was only half the battle.
Day two started with a flyweight (52 kilogrammes) encounter between Olzhas Sattibayev and Cuba’s National Champion Yosbany Veitia and the latter lost the fight despite being the heavy favourite. At this point, the Arlans were ahead with the total score of 4-2 and the Cubans sought ways to come back into contention. With the Domadores edged into a corner, the bout took a different turn.
Kazakh lightweight (60 kilogrammes) Zakir Safiullin ran into a team desperate to rebound in the face of Lazaro Alvarez, who won by split decision and drew the Domadores one step closer to the Arlans.
Kazakhstan welterweight (69 kilogrammes) Aslanbek Shymbergenov experienced similar pressure against 2012 Olympic gold medalist and International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Champion Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo. He tried to outbox Shymbergenov but was easily worn down and the Kazakh managed to snatch a win, putting the Domadores in yet a worse situation with the score at 5-3 only one more loss possible to escape with a tie.
The Cubans, however, had no intention of making it an easy evening promenade for the Arlans. In the next bout, Cuba’s two-time world champion Julio Cesar De La Cruz easily overcame Nurdaulet Zharmanov in the heavyweight category (81 kilogrammes) to keep his nation’s hopes of a comeback realistic.
Kazakh super heavyweight (91+ kilogrammes) Ivan Dychko then faced off against first-timer Yohandi Toirac. Dychko, who owns two AIBA World Championships and London Olympic Games medals, had no problems beating the Cuban to put a dot on the story with the final score of 6-4.
The Arlans’ victory was celebrated nationwide. The importance of the win was highlighted by Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov, Kazakhstan Boxing Federation President Timur Kulibayev and Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, who came to the venue to support the national team.