By Marcus Bellinger (@marcusknockout)
It was time to decide who would take home the World Series of Boxing trophy as the Cuba Domadores went into the second leg 3-2 up against the Astana Arlans in JiJiang, China.
Kicking off the action at flyweight (52kg) it was Jorge Grinan versus Saken Bibossinov. The opening round was evenly matched with Grinan beginning brightly before Bibossinov finished slightly the stronger. Round 2 was another close one with Bibossinov slightly the more accurate. Bibossinov landed well to the body in the 3rd as Grinan was repeatedly caught on the way in. Bibossinov looked to load up a bit in the last couple of rounds but the Kazak safely brought it home, taking the unanimous decision to level up proceedings at 3-3.
In a rematch from last year’s final at lightweight (60kg) Lazaro Alvarez faced Zakir Safiullin. Nothing of any note was landed in the first 3 minutes with Alvarez possibly the slightly busier of the 2. Alvarez out landed Safiullin in the 2nd but this was developing into a contest that was far too close to call. Safiullin attempted to close the distance in the 3rd but found the Cuban a difficult target to pin down. Safiullin continued to try and apply intelligent pressure but it simply wasn’t enough and Alvarez got the unanimous verdict to put the Domadores 4-3 up.
Up at welterweight (69kg) Roniel Iglesias squared off against Aslambek Shymbergenov. Iglesias looked sharp from the off and scored with the better shots in the opening stanza. Round 2 was a physical affair as Shymbergenov tried to rough up Iglesias and make him feel uncomfortable. The tactics from Shymbergenov were proving fruitful and Iglesias was really feeling the pace at the end of the 4th. The Kazak flew out of the blocks at the start of the 5th, forcing the Cuban to hold on and although both began to tire it was Iglesias who somewhat surprisingly claimed the unanimous decision to leave the Domadores 1 win away from victory.
In now a pivotal bout at light heavyweight (81kg) Julio La Cruz had the chance the seal the win for his side if he could overcome Bek Nurmaganbet. Round 1 was really what we’ve been accustomed to seeing from La Cruz as he controlled the tempo and the distance. Nurmaganbet had more success in the 2nd but La Cruz was still landing the cleaner punches. Nurmaganbet did his best to try and turn things around but it was La Cruz who got the unanimous points win to give his team an unassailable 6-3 lead.
Rounding off this season’s competition at super heavyweight (+91kg) Jose Larduet took on Kanshybek Kunkabayev. Larduet imposed himself on Kunkabayev in the opening stanza and he continued to bang away with clubbing blows to the body in round 2. Round 3 was rather untidy but a few big shots from Larduet were the highlight. The Kazak continued to eat some more heavy leather as Larduet powered his way to a unanimous decision to put the icing on the cake for the Cuba Domadores.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features