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Argentina Condors vs. Azerbaijan Baku on Saturday, January 19th

Lausanne, Switzerland, 16 January 2013 – The last match of this World Series of Boxing (WSB) weekend will see Argentina Condors face Azerbaijan Baku Fires at the Club Social Y Deportivo in Santa Clara del Mar on Saturday 19 January (23:15 local time). The home team will be relying on the Argentine duo of London Olympian Alberto Melian and up-and-coming 20-year-old Heavyweight (91+kg) Luis Bravo to lead the troops to victory against a team containing some real quality boxers.

Luis Miguel Bravo (R) of Argentina Condors

Getting the action underway will be rising Bantamweight (50-54kg) star Melian against the Fires’ orthodox Uzbek Orzubek Shayimov. The 23-year-old Argentinean southpaw was given a tough introduction to life in the competition when he battled last season’s top ranked fighter at this weight Gairbek Germakhanov. But despite losing, he acquitted himself well on his pro style debut. With home advantage this time, expect Melian to come good against his opponent.

Condors teenager Ronan Sanchez will then be making his WSB debut when he locks horns with Azerbaijan’s 22-year-old southpaw Isa Isayev at Lightweight (57-61kg). The Azeri fighter lost in his only previous WSB outing so will want to show everyone what he can do, whereas the local boxer will be counting on the element of surprise to gain the upper hand. This one should be very close with the two evenly matched.

At Middleweight (68-73kg), Azerbaijan are pitting their 2012 Individual Championships finalist Khaybula Musalov against 21-year-old Puerto Rican Henrri Polanco Ferreras. After a sumptuous debut campaign last season, Musalov would like to cement his position as one of the division’s top boxers versus an opponent that is still finding his feet at this level.

The penultimate bout of the night will see Argentine Facundo Simal, who boast an 11-0 record in the pro ranks, fight the Fires’ 24-year-old Moldovan southpaw Vladimir Cheles. The home team has high hopes for Simal but the 26-year-old needs to be less erratic against an opponent that is still unbeaten in this competition.

Bringing the show to a close, the Heavyweight (91+kg) clash between the Condors’ tall 20-year-old Bravo and experienced Azeri southpaw Haji Murtuzaliyev should be an explosive one with the two offense-minded boxers. Bravo impressed in his maiden WSB appearance and will have a big reach advantage when he faces the Fires’ mister reliable. 25-year-old Murtuzaliyev is capable of the unexpected so it should make for interesting viewing.

With Argentina in a four way battle for two play-off qualification spots, it will be vital to make home advantage count here. Azerbaijan should never be underestimated as they know how to win on the road, are meticulous planners and never take anything for granted.

30 for 30 Shorts: Ali: The Mission, narrated by John Legend, premieres today on Grantland.com showcasing Muhammad Ali’s 1990 mission to free hostages in Iraq

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Watch Ali: The Mission here: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8849155/the-latest-offering-new-30-30-documentary-series

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30 for 30 Shorts: Ali: The Mission, narrated by John Legend, premieres today on Grantland.com showcasing Muhammad Ali’s 1990 mission to free hostages in Iraq

The next film in ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series premieres today on Grantland.com. Ali: The Mission, narrated by musician John Legend, delves into perhaps one of the most important, but least known, feats of Muhammad Ali’s remarkable life. In 1990, the boxing legend traveled to Iraq to press a plea for peace and negotiate with Saddam Hussein for the release of U.S. civilians taken hostage after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Ali risked his reputation, health and safety for the freedom of prisoners held by Hussein as “human shields” to deter U.S. military strikes. On January 16, 1991, only six weeks after Ali brought 15 hostages back home to their relieved families, Operation Desert Storm bombarded Iraq.

“There are so many stories and myths out there about The Greatest, but this one struck a personal chord with me as I don’t know that people today are even aware of Ali’s immense philanthropic work or this specific mission to Iraq before Desert Storm began,” said the film’s narrator John Legend. “Entertainers and athletes are often blessed with a platform from which to improve the world, and it was an honor for me to be the voice of this film showcasing the incredible journey Ali made that changed the lives of these hostages forever.”

In this 30 for 30 short, directed by Amani Martin (Benji, HBO’s Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush), former hostages discuss their harrowing tales of captivity, their euphoria in being liberated, and their enduring gratitude to Ali for his selfless, humanitarian mission. ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series is artfully crafted by Blue Moon.

Previous films from the 30 for 30 Shorts series include Arnold’s Blueprint, The Arnold Palmer and Jake, which can all be viewed on Grantland.com.




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