World Series of Boxing champions crowned at ExCeL
Saturday, 09 June 2012
June 9 - Season two of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) drew to a thrilling conclusion here tonight as the Individual Championships saw five fighters awarded the prestigious belts.
The WSB, which is owned by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), is currently the only professional boxing competition in the world that allows fighters to retain their Olympic eligibility.
The Individual Championships took place at the same venue which will host the London 2012 Olympic boxing competition in just under two months time and it saw five stunning fights between the top two ranked boxers from WSB season two at bantamweight (54kg), lightweight (61kg), middleweight (73kg), light heavyweight (85kg) and heavyweight (91+kg).
On the line were the five WSB belts and five cheques for $10,000 (£6,500/€7,500).
First off was the bantamweight bout which pitted 20-year-old Elias Emigdio of the Mexico City Guerreros against 27-year-old Gairbek Germakhanov of the Baku Fires.
In an epic contest that saw both boxers bloodied after a brutal exchange of punches, it was Germakhanov who claimed a narrow points victory and the WSB bantamweight world title.
Lightweight saw an equally fast-paced clash as Moscow Dynamo's Adlan Abdurashidov and Mexico City Guerreros' Juan Romero faced off in a thrilling fight.
It was ultimately Romero who was given the win on split points decision along with the WSB lightweight world title.
There was then a ferocious bout at middleweight where Ukraine's reigning WSB champion Sergiy Derevyanchenko (pictured above with CK Wu) of the Dolce and Gabbana Milano Thunder faced Azerbaijan's Heybulla Mursalov of the Baku Fires.
The crowd was on their feet as Derevyanchenko was sensationally floored with a huge shot early in the fight.
But the Dolce and Gabbana Milano star recovered superbly from the knock down to eventually box his way to a comprehensive victory and take the WSB middleweight title for a second successive year.
Next up was the most intriguing bout of the night with an all-Azerbaijan light heavyweight contest between two Baku Fires boxers.
Despite being close friends outside the ring, Azamat Murtuzaliyev and Azeri teammate Ramazan Magomedau went toe to toe and it was Magomedau who took the WSB light heavyweight title as he claimed a brutal technical knock-out stoppage win over his compatriot in round three of the fight.
It was then the finale of the evening and the WSB season as Kazakhstan's heavyweight Ruslan Myrsatayev of the Astana Arlans faced the giant Croatian Filip Hrgović of Paris United.
In the end, Hrgović's height and reach proved far too much for his opponent and he secured a shut-out victory by winning all seven rounds.
It marked a fitting end to the WSB season two and CK Wu, the AIBA President and WSB chairman, paid tribute to the fighters.
"Taking place in the soon to become a mythical venue for the Olympic Games boxing event, the action tonight has not disappointed," he said.
"The WSB is foremost a team competition but during the regular season the boxers are ranked according to their performances and then get the opportunity of staking their claims to take home the WSB Champions belts.
"In the end this is all what boxing is about: individual glory.
"I congratulate are five WSB champions on their victories and for bring the perfect end to season two of the competition."
The competition tonight came just over a month after WSB Team Championships here, where Italian franchise Dolce and Gabbana Milano Thunder took home the trophy after they beat Russian franchise Dynamo Moscow.
Next season will see the format for the entire competition completely revised whereby instead of city franchises, there will be national franchises, meaning that Milano Thunder will become Team Italy and Dynamo Moscow will become Team Russia.
Several new franchises will join for season three including Argentina, Ukraine, Bulgaria and, possibly, Great Britain.
June 2012: Fighters weigh-in for WSB Individual Championships as season two reaches a climax
June 2012: WSB boxers visit London's iconic West Ham Boxing Club
May 2012: Countdown to the WSB individual championships at ExCeL begins