Willie McLaughlin’s Milano Thunder are through to the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Team Championships final after recording a 7-3 aggregate semi-final win over the Baku Fires.
The Italian side met Baku away last night needing to win just one fight from the five-bout match following their 5-0 first-leg win in Milan in the first-leg, a victory that unbeaten McLaughlin, who boxes out of the Illies GG in Donegal, helped embellish after recording his fifth win on-the-trot for Thunder this season.
Likewise, all Thunder needed from last night’s second leg in Baku was to win one bout, a win that was achieved without having to throw a punch as Baku light-heavyweight Teymur Mammadov was forced to withdraw injured, a withdrawal that mean that Thunder received a walkover and a ticket into the 2011/12 WSB final.
Baku also withdrew Denys Poyatsyka last night and Thunder withdrew Sergiy Derevyanchenko, who Irish 2012 Olympian Darren O’Neill beat en route to silver at the 2010 European Championships in Moscow.
Baku, meanwhile, won two fights in the ring last evening to earn an academic 3-2 home win.
Thunder will now meet Dynamo Moscow – who beat the Astana Arlans of Kazakhstan in the corresponding semi-final - in the WSB team Championships final at the Excel in London, the venue for boxing at the 2012 Olympics, in early May.
May’s finals pairings ensure that the WSB Team Championship trophy will remain in Europe for the second season running as John Joe Nevin’s Paris United claimed the inaugural trophy last season.