May 1 - Dynamo Moscow and Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder are all set to square up for the prestigious World Series of Boxing (WSB) team trophy at London's ExCeL tomorrow night after both sets of fighters successfully weighed in here.
WSB, owned by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), is now in its second season while it is the only professional boxing competition in the world that allows fighters to retain their Olympic eligibility.
The venue for the weigh-in for the WSB team finals is opposite the ExCeL, which will host the London 2012 boxing competition this summer, and both the Russian and Italian franchises looked primed for the showdown.
The final will see five fights at the five different weights of bantamweight (54kg), lightweight (61kg), middleweight (73kg), light heavyweight (85kg) and heavyweight (91+kg).
The first team to win three of the five bouts will be crowned champions and pick up the coveted WSB Team Championship trophy.
Both clubs have named formidable line-ups for the finale.
At bantamweight, Moscow's Vladimir Nikitin, the highly talented 22-year-old Russian, will face Milano's experienced 28-year-old Italian Vincenzo Picardi, who won bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Lightweight sees an intriguing clash between Moscow's Adlan Abdurashidov, a former European student champion, against Milano's heavy-fisted Branimir Stankovic.
The middleweight bout will pit Moscow's Maxim Gazizov, the 2009 and 2010 National Championship silver medallist, against Milano's stylish Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the reigning 2011 WSB world champion.
The light-heavyweight match-up will see Moscow's highly rated Oleksandr Gvozdyk face Milano's Imre Szello, the 2011 European Boxing Championship bronze medallist.
But perhaps the best bout is saved for last as the heavyweight contest will see Moscow's Vitaly Kudukhov, the two-times Russian National Championship medallist, face the formidable Clemente Russo (pictured above, Kudokhov on left), the 28-year-old Italian who is the reigning Olympic silver medallist, WSB world champion and tipped to star at London 2012.
It could be the match that decides where the WSB team trophy will go and Russo will start as the heavy favourite.
Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder general manager Paolo Taveggia admitted that his side was looking forward to the match.
"We are very happy to be in London and honoured to be competing in the venue that will be hosting the Olympic boxing competition," he said.
"We feel we deserve to be here as we have worked very hard.
"I'm glad that our two boxers [Russo and Picardi] that have qualified for the London 2012 Olympics are here with us because they wanted to represent Italy.
"It will be a tough battle but we are ready."
Dynamo Moscow managing director Stepan Lendeyl was equally upbeat about his team's prospects.
"We know we are in for a real battle but we cannot wait to take to the ring for a great final," he said.
"We have a proud tradition of boxing in Russia and we want to return with the trophy to make our people proud.
"It will not be easy but we think we can do it."
The winning team will join Paris United on the WSB role of honour after the French franchise won the inaugural WSB team finals last year when the event was staged in Guiyang, China.
The team trophy will be presented by AIBA President C K Wu, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.
Wu will be joined by several dignitaries at the event, including fellow IOC members such as Britain's Sir Craig Reedie and Italy's Francesco Ricci Bitti.
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