Guba, May 5, AZERTAC
The first quarter-final in Season V of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) is a two-legged affair between Azerbaijan Baku Fires and Mexico Guerreros.
Azerbaijan has home advantage for both legs as they finished second in Group B of the Regular Season, while Mexico placed third in Group A.
The Baku Fires won 10 of their 14 matches in the group stages, including six home successes from seven fixtures.
Additionally, Azerbaijan have only lost one single bout in their last four matches at home.
Mexico ended the Regular Season in excellent form with eight wins from nine matches, and have impressed with four away victories.
Guba Olympic Complex, Guba is the venue for this quarter-final clash, where on Wednesday 6th May and Thursday 7th May fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 18:00 (GMT +5) at AIBABoxingtv.com
A Light flyweight (49 kg) contest begins the match in Guba, where 1-2 Azeri Rasul Saliyev meets 6-1 Joselito Velázquez Altamirano.
Azerbaijan has struggled at Light flyweight this season with just two wins from seven matches, and Saliyev’s lone victory was a walkover against Puerto Rico’s Anthony Ortiz.
Altamirano has been excellent so far in Season V for the Guerreros, and finished third in the Light flyweight rankings after the close of the Regular Season.
The Mexican will know the significance of winning the opening match of this fixture and will be the heavy favourite, especially considering the power he has shown in earlier WSB fights.
An intriguing Bantamweight (56 kg) clash follows between Baku Fires debutant Yashar Magomedov and Mexico’s 0-3 Sergio Alfredo Chirino Sánchez.
Expect a close contest in this one as Magomedov is stepping into the big footsteps of 5-1 Magomed Gurbanov, while Sánchez has lost his last two matches by split decision.
Despite the fearsome reputation of Azerbaijan in WSB, only two of their competitors in the first leg have won a WSB match this season, and they have another boxer making their debut at Light welterweight (64 kg).
Zaur Abdullayev is the Azeri representative in the match, but he faces a very difficult match against Mexico’s 6-1 Raúl Curiel García who finished second in the Light welterweight rankings, and earned a Rio 2016 Olympic quota as a result.
García will not be overawed at performing away from home, as the points specialist has won all four of his away fixtures throughout this campaign, and he possesses a tenacious style which will cause difficulty for any opponent.
Georgian Middleweight (75 kg) Jaba Khositashvili has had a mixed season for The Baku Fires over his four bouts, but will look for his second successive victory against 2-4 Misael Uriel Rodríguez Oliva.
Both of these fighters like to stand and trade power shots in the middle of the ring, so expect this contest to be one of the most entertaining fights of the night.
The last match of leg one is at Heavyweight (91 kg) where the third Baku Fires debutant Leanid Charnabayeu battles 3-0 Julio Cesar Castillo Torres.
Charnabayeu competed in the early stages of WSB for Mumbai Fighters, but makes his first appearance of Season V at a crucial stage of the season.
Torres ended the group stages in superb form for Mexico with three wins in a month, including a brilliant victory over AIBA World Championships silver medalist Evgeny Tishchenko.
All five bouts in Guba carry huge ramifications for the second leg on the following night, but the winner of the Heavyweight clash will give their Franchise huge confidence going into Thursday’s matches.