Temirtas Zhussupov (up to 49 kg) lost to his Russian opponent Bator Sagaluyev in the opening bout. Next, 2014 Asian Games champion Ilyas Suleimenov (up to 56 kg) evened the score, defeating Artem Khotenov by unanimous decision. Radmir Abdurakhmanov (up to 64 kg) beat Dilmurat Mizhitov and brought the Russian team forward again.
Astana’s Abilkhan Amankul fought against Radzhab Radzhabov in the weight category of up to 75 kg. The Kazakh boxer won the bout, knocking out his opponent in the fourth round. The fight in the 91 kg weight category was decisive. Anton Pinchuk took an uneasy win over Ilya Kvasnikov, bringing the Arlans its first win of the season.
“It is always nice to return with a remarkable win. This fight was quite tough. We had to work hard to win. There were many tactical moments during the fight where I had to show grit. Character, strength and experience helped to win,” said Pinchuk.
After the match, Astana Arlans general manager Serik Sapiyev was clearly pleased with his team’s result.
“Of course I am happy that everything went well and the match ended with our win. Each of our fighters showed good boxing tonight, as each sought to win his bout. Some of them lacked luck, some lacked skills to win. However, despite two failures I am very pleased with the result, as we secured a victory over a [strong] Russian team. We have ambitious goals in the new season and we must try as best we can to achieve them and prove the high level of the Kazakh boxing school once again,” he said.
The 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 Boxing Association (AIBA). According to the WSB website, the origin 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.”
WSB is wholly owned by AIBA. All WSB boxers are also registered with AIBA and all referees and officials working at 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 in total and no more than three of same nationality.
Teams compete in the ten 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 that leads to playoffs and a final. The boxers compete without vests or headgear in five three-minute rounds and five bouts per match.
This year, WSB includes three geographically-based groups each with four teams. The Arlans are in the Asia group with the Russian Patriots, Uzbek Tigers and China Dragons. The other groups are Americas and Europe and Middle East and Africa. The first two teams from the groups and two best-ranked third teams will reach the playoffs.
In WSB’s six seasons, the Astana Arlans won the league in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 and were the runners-up in the inaugural 2010-2011 season. Last year, the team lost to the British Lionhearts in the semifinals.