“In terms of the quality and excitement of boxing on show, entertainment and production levels and our global audience reach, WSB Season VII set new standards for our sport. In Season VIII, we can now go even further, with India’s vast and growing appetite for boxing adding a new dimension to the 2018 competition and the Croatian Knights bringing with them all of that great nation’s boxing history,” said AIBA Interim President Franco Falcinelli.
The Astana Arlans will face China Dragons, the all-new India team and Patriot Boxing Team from Russia in Group Asia, while the Croatian Knights will begin their first season against the British Lionhearts, France Fighting Roosters and Italia Thunder in Group Europe. In Group Americas, Season VII Finalists Cuba Domadores will be looking to equal the Arlans’ record and win a third title of their own, but face stiff competition from Colombia Heroicos and Venezuela Caciques.
“After the dramatic Season VII final, Astana Arlans are preparing to make history and assert ourselves once more on the WSB competition. The boxers love the format and it has helped them develop and grow as athletes and the competition has truly brought boxing to new audiences. The team is preparing to defend the title we won last year against Cuba Domadores and we are confident that we can reach our fifth final,” said Astana Arlans Kazakhstan General Manager Sayat Abildin.
Among the boxers taking part will be a host of Champions and medallists from the 2017 AIBA World Championships in Hamburg, and the eleven teams will be able to recruit available national and international boxers to their squads. WSB has now closed its foreign boxer registrations for Season VIII, with 196 foreign entries confirmed from 42 different countries. Boxers at the beginning of their professional careers are welcome to participate. The deadline for teams to recruit from the available list will be mid-January, with the full line-ups to be confirmed shortly after.
“We are delighted to have a Croatian team making its debut in the World Series of Boxing for the first time in Season VIII. The competition is part of our strategy to help our boxers to secure a successful Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification pathway. Several members of the side have already amassed significant WSB experience with the likes of British Lionhearts and Astana Arlans and will be sharing that precious know-how with their teammates, allowing Croatian Knights to go into the competition confident of making a big impact and progressing through to the play-offs,” said Croatian Knights General Manager Mladen Mikolcevic.