For those interested, BLH will have a live stream today for AIBA's fourth season of the World Series of Boxing. The Series doesn't often get a lot of attention, but it's a place where you can see good amateur fighters competing in pro-style fights (FightFax has taken to considering these pro fights, in fact, because the fighters are paid and there's no head gear or anything, so, you know, they are pro fights).
The stream will go live at 2:00 pm EDT.
Here's a bit from a press release to explain the WSB a little bit if you're unfamiliar. Also worth noting: the British team, the Lionhearts, have been pulled from competition.
The draw is an important part of the WSB season with teams finding out who they will be facing in the group phases of the Regular season. Last year's finalists, the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan and the Ukraine Otamans will be seeded so as not to draw each other. But that also means that one of them must instead face the new and as yet unranked Cuba Franchise in the Regular Season along with either the Mexico Guerreros or Season II winners Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder who as semi-finalists will not meet each other either.
Cuba, as one of the most successful Olympic boxing nations in history, is expected to be a serious force in WSB from their first bout. Indeed Antonio Castro, the son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has predicted the team "will continue [their] success" whilst Boxing Federation President Alberto Puig de la Barca has attempted to strategically underplay the team's intent, suggesting that the team "will not target the Team Finals next season", but rather their goal "will be to gain experience and offer a great opposition every time that we travel the world".
Their performance in the opening stages however will be a clearer statement of their true intentions in the competition and will be an indication of whether the old guard can hold on or whether a new order is emerging in the WSB.
Either way, with the Arlans or the Otamans lining up against Cuba and a Season III semi-finalist, on paper it already looks like there is only one spot left to play for in that group. Should the draw add one or more teams that made last year's Play-Offs and we could potentially see the first WSB group of death emerge. The excitement is building.