Cubans looking good at Worlds
Light Flyweight Yosbany Veitia Soto of Cuba looked very smooth today at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 against solid opposition in Mark Barriga of the Philippines, while number one seeded Bantamweight Robeisy Carrazana took a comfortable win. Yohandi Ortega also looked composed against Cornelius Sheehan from Ireland.
(Yosbany Soto vs Mark Barriga)
Elsewhere we had our usual thrills and spills as Light Flyweights (49kg), Bantamweights (56kg) and Super Heavyweights (91+kg) took to the ring.
Bout of the session
Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan took on Belik Galanov from Russia at Light Flyweight in the first bout of the day. It was a match-up that was highly anticipated by the local crowd, who began chanting some ten minutes before the boxers had even appeared, while the ring still lay vacant and technical staff made their final checks. Once the bout began, it was easy to understand why the fans were so excited. The fight was conducted at absolutely frenetic pace with both boxers clearly determined to win not just a victory, but an overwhelming one. Heavy punches and frequent tie ups ensued with the work rate remaining as intense as the drumming in the crowd for the full three rounds. The number one seeded Light Flyweight boxer from Kazakhstan really came on in the last round and began to overawe his fading Russian opponent to ensure the win 3:0.
APB boxer of the session
Aram Avagyan from Armenia was at his best again today. Having taken out former British Lionheart Gamal Yafai in the last round, he continued to be the scourge of WSB boxers by defeating Jahyn Parrinello of the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder. He shocked the Italian with a massive right hand in the first round which saw the Italian fall forward onto his knees dazed, and take a standing eight count. He continued to look impressive for the remainder and took an important win. "It was very hard in there", said the Armenian. "He was a very strong boxer". When we pointed out that he has had quite a tough draw, exclusively featuring WSB boxers, he simply responded: "This is the World Championships, whatever draw you get is difficult".
WSB boxer of the session
Light Flyweight Yosbany Veitia Soto who featured for the Domadores de Cuba in their debut performance against Mexico Guerreros this summer, took on APB boxer Mark Barriga from the Philippines for the day's other opening bout. While the crowd were busy screaming on their local hero Zhakypov, one of the most technically interesting bouts of the World Championships so far was taking place in the other ring. The two southpaws felt each other out initially but were quickly landing good combinations and using very dynamic foot work. Soto seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges but was caught off balance in the third round and given a standing eight count. The bout now very much hung in the balance with only a minute and a half to go. Soto charged forward but Barriga did well to stuff a lot of his efforts. Later on, Soto caught the Filipino with a cross that left him looking wobbly. His overall performance was enough to see him take the win 3:0 in a bout that was tighter than its sounds on paper.
Effort of the session
Welsh boxer Ashely Williams got caught with a huge blow to the right side of his face and eye by Road to Almaty boxer Malith Muthukarage of Sri Lanka in the first round. The lad from Swansea required a standing eight count. He was extremely tenacious however, to the extent that one US coach observing on the TV monitors was overheard saying: "wow he's still coming forward. That's one tough kid". "He caught me off guard in the first round with a good shot, fair play to him", declared Williams. "He punched very well but my hard work in training paid off and Wales pushed me all the way. My heart was my edge in there, so well done to the Sri Lankan for giving me a good fight, let's just hope this eye holds out for the rest of the tournament. I'd like to thank Sports Wales and all our sponsors for their support".
One to watch
Though certainly not an outside chance, current number one seed Bantamweight Robeisy Carrazana of Cuba looked sublime against Jiawei Zhang of China. By the second break, the Chinese boxer was wincing on his way back to the corner as soon as he was out of eye shot of the Cuban. Carrazana by contrast came out into the third with a grin. Zhang was working very hard and was throwing perhaps five punches for every one of the Cuban's, yet was still landing less of them. If it's possible to look comfortable in a World Championships, then the Cuban was. He looked about as fired up as most people are when they go to make their breakfast in the morning. He is definitely a favourite.
Quote of the session
The following was overheard in the mixed-zone between Jason Quigley following his fight with Vijender from India and former Irish boxer turned journalist Kenny Egan.
Quigely: "He was an Olympic medallist so to not have a great fight against a lad of that calibre and still go through to the next round is a really good result for me. He's still extremely good but Beijing is a long way back."
Egan: "Tell me about it... I'm getting grey hairs." (Egan was silver medallist at the 2008 Olympics)
Fact/Stat of the day
Ross Weaver of Australia was in an incredibly heated and prolonged exchange with Artem Chebotarev of Russian with both fighters landing very heavy blows. Having seen their fighter take one too many, the Australian coaches threw in the towel. at the exact moment when their man dropped his opponent. It was clear that the Russian wasn't sure what was going on when he was returned to his corner since he was still dazed. The Russian coach had to explain to his athlete what had happened. Meanwhile the Australian coaches had some explaining to do as well...