Representatives from each of the teams took part in the draft in Lausanne ©WSB

USA Knockouts strengthened their prospects for the World Series of Boxing Season VI after adding Croatia’s super heavyweight star Filip Hrgovic to their squad, as each of the 16 teams completed their line-ups for the campaign at the draft in Lausanne.

Hrgovic had proved to be one of the top performers during last season of the event having won all of his bouts for his former franchise,  the Astana Arlans, to help the Kazakh-based team secure the title for the first time.

The over 91 kilogram division boxer’s performances also saw him book a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, having earned a quota place.

He will be joined by eight other foreign stars in the USA Knockouts team, including Indian flyweight Gaurav Bidhuri and French light heavyweight Soulyman Abdourachidov, with the additions set to supplement their home-grown contingent.

The Puerto Rico Hurricanes focused their attentions on the higher weight classes by adding German 91kg heavyweight Roman Fress to their ranks, as well as three 91kg super heavyweights, Armenia’s Narek Manasyan, Ireland’s Dean Gardiner and Mantas Valavicius of Lithuania.

WSB chief executive Karim Bouzidi praised the standard of boxers available in the draft for the team competition and believes addition of the Uzbekistan Tigers and Turkey Bosphourous franchises will boost the event.

“We are gearing up for an exciting Season VI of WSB starting in January and I am thrilled to see a wealth of new boxing talent emerging in our competition,” he said.

“The addition of new franchises and new boxers demonstrates the dynamic development of WSB in key markets across the globe and the growing international appeal of our sport, and I eagerly await the return of this exceptional boxing competition, along with our thousands of fans all over the world.”

Rafako Hussars Poland have added last season's top ranked flyweight Patrick Barnes to their team
Rafako Hussars Poland have added last season's top ranked light flyweight Patrick Barnes to their team ©WSB

While the USA Knockouts and Mexico Guerreros added eight boxers to their line-ups for the season as they attempt to close the gap on Astana Arlans and last year’s beaten finalists Cuba Domadores, Rafako Hussars Poland will hope to have achieved a coup by adding Ireland’s Patrick Barnes to their squad.

Barnes, twice an Olympic bronze medallist, was the top-ranked light flyweight last season having won all seven fights in the under 49kg division when boxing for the Italia Thunder team.

The opening matches of the season are set to be held in January, with number of groups expanded from two to four this season in order to accommodate all 16 teams.

Last season’s runners-up Cuba Domadores have been pitted against Algeria Desert Hawks, Ukraine Otamans and China Dragons in Group A, while Mexico Guerreros, USA Knockouts, Morocco Atlas Lions and British Lionhearts make up Group B.

Group C consists of the Russian Boxing Team, Rafako Hussars Poland, Argentina Condors and Caciques de Venezuela, with defending champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan headlining Group D alongside Azerbaijan Baku Fires, Puerto Rico Hurricanes and debutants Uzbekistan Tigers.

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