Kazakh Wolves take USA Knockouts down: Astana Arlans win 5:0
The Kazakhstani team has had 15 bouts in total with 11 victories, while the Americans followed with 10 victories and 5 losses.
In the flyweight category (52 kg), the Arlans’ veteran Miras Zhakupov faced Brent Richard Venegas III. The Arlan worked in counter attack mode and showcased some great footwork. Venegas had a good start, but he looked less convincing in the later rounds. Zhakupov countered most of Venegas’ attacks and had a solid number of connecting punches. In the final rounds, the sturdy Ust-Kamenogorsk native had the upper hand over the American boxer. Zhakupov won Venegas 49:46, 49:46, 49:46 bringing the Arlans the first victory of the night (1:0).
Yerzhan Mussafirov followed in the lightweight category (-60 kg). The Arlan faced Maliek Dawnnell Montgomery of USA Knockouts who was noted as a serious opponent by the Kazakhstani coaches. Mussafirov has recently recovered from a surgery and returned to the ring in his native Karaganda city. Throughout five rounds both boxers kept their guards up. Faster Montromery seemed to have more connecting punches than Mussafirov. But in the end, the Kazakh boxer won by the split decision 2:1. After the fight, Mussafirov said that he wouldn’t have disagreed if the judges had given the victory to his opponent. “I saw how my opponent and I approached the fight. I can objectively evaluate the fight,” Mussafirov said. The score (2:0) put pressure on the following fighters. The light heavyweight (-81 kg) fight, instead of the welterweight (-69 kg), became the decider of the Astana Arlans-USA Knockouts fight.
It is not the first time the experienced Croatian boxer Hrvoje Sep shoulders the responsibility of a decider bout. This time, the unstoppable Sep faced Steven Nelson of USA Knockouts. Nelson started off with a series of fast attacks that did not faze Sep in a bit. The Croatian continued steadily closing the distance and attacking in his favorite close range. In the third round, Nelson hit the ropes as Sep persistently threw deadly punches at him. Despite his attempt to KO Sep in the third round, the USA Knockouts boxer lost the round and the fight. Hrvoje Sep won his 2nd fight of the 5th season. The Astana Arlans won USA Knockouts 3:0.
A promising welterweight debutant Aslanbek Shymbergenov and the winner of the Golden Gloves Brian Ceballo brought a change of pace after the close range Mussafirov-Montgomery and Sep-Nelson fights. Shymbergenov progressed with caution catching Ceballo several times with combination punches. The Champion of Kazakhstan cornered the American fighter and showcased good footwork while getting away from attacks. In the final rounds, Ceballo dominated the ring showering the Kazakhstani with precise jabs and crosses. But the judges gave the victory to Shymbergenov by a split decision.
The strongest heavyweight (+91 kg) in WSB Filip Hrgovic from Croatia stepped in the ring to face Brandon Glanton. Despite being shorter than Hrgovic, Glanton managed to connect a number of punches in the first round. The American boxer also had a solid defence against powerful blows of the Croatian. But Hrgovic did not let the fight continue for long. In the second round, 1:36 minutes before the end of the round, Hrgovic caught Glantov with his right glove. The referee gave the American an 8-count. But 10 more seconds into the fight the referee announced a TKO. Hrgovic added the 2nd TKO in his second fight of the 5th season.
The Astana Arlans defeated USA Knockouts 5:0 at Sapiyev Boxing Center. The Kazakh Wolves retained their first place in the Group B.
“We wanted to win by a large margin. I did not have any scores predicted in my head, we just wanted to win. (…) But certainly there was confidence that we would win at home,” the General Director of the Astana Arlans Serik Sapiev said.
Sapiev admitted that considering the equal bouts, the judges would not have given victories to the Arlans if it wasn't a home match.
Next, the Wolves faced Hurricanes from Puerto Rico. The Astana Arlans-Puerto Rico Hurricanes hit Sapiyev Boxing Center in Karaganda on February 14.
By Gyuzel Kamalova
- Astana Arlans
- Serik Sapiyev