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Last year's runners-up in the World Series Boxing (WSB) Team Final, Russia, proved they have lost none of their desire for the competition with a home impressive start against newcomers Algeria Desert Hawks in the last match of Week I. Tashkarakov, Sitikov, Khotyantsev and Kalchugin were in fine form in this Group A match at the North Olympic Center in Syktyvar, Northern Russia.
22-year-old Bantamweight (54kg) London Olympian Samir Brahimi of the Desert Hawks battled WSB Russian debutant Vyacheslav Tashkarakov in the night's first contest. The home boxer looked intent on making a real impression on the local fans from the first bell, dictating proceedings and never allowing his opponent to settle. It was a classy showing by Tashkarakov who mixed it up well to win and give his team the early advantage in the match.
It was two untested boxers pitted against each other in the Middleweight (73kg) bout with the Desert Hawks' Sofiane Tabi taking on Sergei Sitikov. The home boxer looked calm and composed and used his range to good effect. Calmly biding his time, he finally found the breakthrough in the fourth round after wearing down his opponent, unleashing several punishing blows on his way to a convincing TKO win.
The same scenario was repeated in the next fight as Aleksandr Khotyantsev also brought down his rival, Fouzi Bouanka, in the fourth round of the Light Heavyweight (85kg) showdown. Applying constant pressure on the visiting team's Algerian 27-year-old, Khotyantsev delighted the local fans with an accomplished display to give his team an unassailable lead in the tie.
Algerian superstar Chouaib Bouloudinats was unable to cope with the huge height advantage of his opponent, the 25-year-old Russian southpaw Sergey Kalchugin, in the evening's Heavyweight (91+kg). Kalchugin kept the Desert Hawks boxer at bay and used the jab to great effect to make it a white wash victory for the home team after the Lightweight (61kg) showdown between Russia's Konstantin Bogomazov and 24-year-old Brahim Oukil was a walkover with the Algerian fighter unable to make weight.
Russia now travel to Poland to face the Hussars on Friday 23 November as Algeria host Azerbaijan Baku Fires on Friday 30 November.
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