India's second stint at the semi-professional World Series of Boxing (WSB) was off to a disappointing start as the team went down 1-4 to three-time champions Astana Arlans in Karaganda City, Kazakhstan. World Championship quarterfinalist Kavinder Singh Bisht (52kg) was the lone Indian boxer to pull off a win as he fetched a split 2-1 verdict over Akniet Baltabayev. The visiting side, christened Indian Tigers in its second coming and owned fully by the Boxing Federation of India, returned to the event, in which boxers compete in five rounds of three minutes each, after seven years. Each tie comprises five bouts and India were being represented by Kavinder, Ankush Dahiya (60kg), Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg), Brijesh Yadav (81kg) and Parveen Kumar (+91kg). The Indian Tigers replaced Mumbai Tigers, which had pulled out in 2011 due to differences with the then national federation. It was never going to be an easy outing against the most consistent team of the league, competing on home turf at the Boxing Centre Sapiyev in the Karaganda City and fresh from its third title win in the season gone by. The tie started with Asian youth silver-medallist Ankush Dahiya taking on Serik Temirzhanov. Dahiya took quite a pounding in the opening two rounds before managing to somewhat find his bearings in the third, the only round he managed to claim against the local favourite. However, Temirzhanov, a former junior world bronze- medallist, did not give any breathing space to the Indian in the next two rounds to claim a thumping unanimous verdict of 3-0. Next up was Duryodhan Singh Negi in the welterweight category.
He squared off against Image of Bekbolat Kuramyssov and although the Indian fought hard, he went down in a split 2-1 verdict. The bout ended early in the third round after he sustained an injury, forcing the referee to stop the contest. Brijesh Yadav did a lot better in the light heavyweight (81kg) bout against Nurdaulet Zharmanov. He managed to claim the last couple of rounds against the former Kazakh national champion but the damage had been done in the first three rounds, which Zharmanov clinched. Yadav lost 1-2, giving the home team an unassailable lead. Parveen Kumar's face off against Nursultan Amanzholov was a completely lopsided affair and the judges ruled unanimously in Amanzholov's favour to add to India's misery. Akniet Baltabayev awaited Kavinder in the final bout of the day and the Indian Navy boxer turned in a gritty performance in a see-saw battle to ensure that the visiting camp had something to cheer about at the end of a largely disappointing evening. India will next square off against the Patriot Boxing Team from Russia, once again in an away clash, on March 2. The tie is scheduled to take place in Kazan.