Russia beat Ukraine, 4-1 in the 2014 World Series of Boxing quarterfinals on Monday in Moscow, Russia. With situation in Crimea already toxic, it was a breath of fresh air that the athletes—and fans—from both countries treated the matches as nothing more than what it should be: a sporting competition.
"I think that the audience has really showed their support for both teams," said International Boxing Association Taiwanese president Wu Ching-Kuo, who also added that the contest was “marked by sportsmanship" in an article.
Ching-Kuo along with Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov was part of an Arena Moscow crowd of roughly 500 that were appreciative of the efforts of both nations in the boxing ring despite the tensions between Russia and Ukraine regarding the annexation of Crimea.
"A good atmosphere," Ukrainian fighter Denys Berinchyk said. "Boxing fans who love boxing, and love Ukrainian boxing. It's a better reception for us than, for example, Germany. In Germany they greeted us with whistles and jeers and here with normal applause."
The Ukraine Otamans won the first bout of the series when Hasanboy Dusmatov defeated David Ayrapetyan in a light flyweight bout.
However, the Russian Boxing Team dominated the next four matches. Vladimir Nikitin beat Mykola Butsenko (bantamweight); Radzab Butaev beat Denys Berinchyk (light welterweight); Artem Chebotaeve def. Dmytro Mytrofanov (middleweight); and Evgeniy Tischenko beat Siarhei Karneyeu all via unanimous decision to clinch the win.
Russia and Ukraine meets in the second leg of the quarterfinals on Friday this time in Donestk, Ukraine. The winner will draw with either the USA Knockouts or the Cuba Domadores in the semifinals of the 2014 World Series of Boxing.
Ukraine vs. Russia - Leg 2 of Quarterfinals
Azat Usenaliev vs. Bakhtor Nazirov (flyweight) Pavlo Ishchenko vs.Dmitriy Polyankiy (lightweight) Taras Golovachenko vs. Alexander Besputin (welterweight) Oleksandr Ganzulia vs.Eduard Yakushev (light heavyweight) Iegor Plevako vs. Maxim Babanin (super heavyweight) Oleksandr Khyshniak vs.danil Shved (super heavyweight)
The organizers, boxers and fans, like that in the Russian leg, are hoping that the matches will all be out boxing and none of the garbage called politics.