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World Series Boxing Images: Mumbai Fighters tamed

Last updated on: December 20, 2011 08:45 IST

World Series Boxing Images: Mumbai Fighters tamed

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Venky's Mumbai Fighters were thrashed 5-0 by LA Matadors last week, but spectators at the T-Box arena, in Mumbai's Inorbit Mall, were treated to rich fare in the World Series Boxing, says Laxmi Negi.

The spectators at the T-Box arena, in Mumbai's Inorbit Mall, started trickling in a wee-bit early for the World Series Boxing.

This time around they knew what to expect as they sat in the open arena to watch the live action.

After all, their spirits were high following Venky's Mumbai Fighters' 5-0 thrashing of LA Matadors last week.

The jam-packed arena welcomed Balbir Singh to the ring. Though they goaded him to knock the blues out of his opponent, Khabibulla Ismail Akhunov, the bantamweight boxer fell short of their expectations.

He could barely last the five grueling rounds. He had a battery of combinations to unleash on his opponent, but the nimble-footed Astana fighter was much superior.


Image: Mumbai Fighters' Leanid Charnabayeu duels with Astana Arlans Abdelhafid Benchabla
Photographs: Laxmi Negi

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Bollywood's glitterati to its fore

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By that time Bollywood's glitterati was present in full force and made their presence felt. There was actor Aftab Shivdasani, businessman Raj Kundra (Shilpa Shetty's husband), VJ Gaurav Kapur, and actor Akul Tripathi, to name a few.

The cheer girls too took their job seriously. Even when they were supposed to sit in a corner and wait for their turn to perform their routine, they worked extra-time.

One of the cheer girls blew kisses to the boxers, saying "It is the first time I am watching boxing and I am glued!"

Unable to keep her eyes off the ring, she added: "The sport rocks!"

Indeed, the cheerleaders kept the pugilists and crowd going. After every bout, they took over the ring and treated the spectators with awesome performances.


Image: Actor Aftab Shivdasani (extreme left), Udit Seth, businessman Raj Kundra, and VJ Gaurav Kapur watch WSB bouts
Photographs: Laxmi Negi

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Forgettable night for Mumbai Fighters

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For Mumbai Fighters, though, it was not a very memorable night.

Their lightweight category fighter Diwakar Prasad had to throw in the towel against Mussafirov Yerzhan, in Round Four, despite leading in the first round.

Early in the bout, he cleverly slipped from the ropes and put his opponent on, to run away with a few points. But he only flattered to deceive, running out of steam at the end for a technical knock-out verdict.


Image: Cheergirls perform after the WSB bouts
Photographs: Laxmi Negi

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Astana Arlans' get their lucky charm in Serik

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The open arena caught fancy of Kazakhstan's Astana Arlans who have vowed to 'return Mumbai Fighters' hospitality' in the same coin when they travel there.

The only difference will be the -25 temperatures.

Astana manager Serik Kassymov was pleased with the showing of his boxers, saying, "Last season in WSB, when I started traveling with the team, they started pocketing wins on the away leg. Before coming to Mumbai, Astana were on-par with the Mumbai Fighters' and they desperately needed a push." Serik definitely provided the lucky charm as was evident in the 5-0 verdict Astana had at the end of the day's proceedings.


Image: Serik Kassymov (in white) with Astana Arlans' boxers
Photographs: Laxmi Negi

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TKO blow for the spectators

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For Mumbai Fighters, it was certainly a night to forget. Croatia's Sanjin Vrgac also suffered a technical knock-out, at the hands of Miras Bairkhanov.

The two TKO decisions did leave a few spectators literally knocked-out. Isko kya hua? Winner kaise?' some of them asked.

But there were many who actually understood the sport and came to the rescue of the confused spectators.

If Prasad and Vrgac disappointed big time, Mumbai Fighters' Leanid Charnabayeu from Croatiawent down all guns blazing. He had the spectators on their feet as the arena came alive again in his light heavyweight bout against reining WSB champion Abdelhafid Benchabla.

In the first round, it looked as if he would finish the bout in quick time as he went for the kill. It made the Astana Arlans' think-tank to work hard on strategy to prevent Leanid from spoiling their party.

From Round 2, every punch Leanid connected was cheered vociferously. Though Benchabla won the bout on points, Leanid did win some hearts. His chest thumping and gesturing to his opponent to fight harder and clean got him some brownie points from boxing connoisseurs.


Image: Miras Bairkhanov of Astana Arlans' get better of Mumbai Fighters' Sanjin Pol Vrgoc
Photographs: Laxmi Negi

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Boxers give fans their money's worth

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The 5-0 verdict was evident much before the heavyweight bout between Mumbai Fighters' Krishan Kumar and Chouaib Bouloudinats.

Kumar only delayed Astana's celebrations. There was no showmanship from Chouaib. All he did was box straight and keep his guard to emerge triumphant.

For the goodly crowd that came to see blood, it was a night to remember though. Their team went down tamely, but they did get their money's worth.

Mumbai Fighters will have to come up with something extraordinary when they travel for the away fight. Hot treatment awaits them in the freezing climes of Kazakhstan.


Image: Spectators on their feet during a WSB bout
Photographs: Laxmi Negi

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