By Tom Degun in Almaty

Bakhyt_SarsekbayevOctober 31 - The World Series of Boxing (WSB) got under way in explosive fashion at the Almaty Sports Palace as home franchise Astana Arlans dominated all five of the weight categories to defeat Turkish side Istanbulls 5-0.

Kazakhstan's reigning Olympic Champion Bakhyt Sarsekbayev (pictured) drew rapturous support from the partisan crowd in a comprehensive victory over Istanbulls' team captain Onur Şipal as WSB emphatically announced its arrival on the world stage.

AIBA President C K Wu opened proceedings at the event with a short speech.

Wu said: "The World Series of Boxing is a key element in AIBA's vision for the future development of boxing.

"It will help boxers with their careers and it will provide a return on investment for the national federations who nurture its boxers, but most importantly it will change the perception of boxing."

Bagad Alimbekov of the Astana Arlans claimed the opening victory against Abdullah Dursun in the 54kg bantamweight category before his teammate Yerzhan Mussafirov put on the most devastating display of the evening with a second round technical knock-out against Mehmet Topçakan in the 61kg lightweight contest.

The 73kg middleweight division then saw Kazakhstan's Olympic hero Sarsekbayev delight the home crowd as he completely out boxed Şipal of the Istanbulls shortly before Ghana's Maxwell Amponsah stylishly out-pointed Onder Ozgül to put the Astana Arlans 4-0 up.

Serbian heavyweight Milutin Stankovic completed the rout for the Kazakhstan franchise with a unanimous victory over Mohamed Arjaoui in the fifth and final bout of the evening in the 91+kg heavyweight division.

Ho Kim, chief executive of the WSB, told insidethegames: "A lot of people don't realise how much effort and planning have gone into this event so to see it all come off so well is fantastic.

"We are all very proud to see the start of the WSB and I'm sure it will go on to be a huge success."

Astana Arlans star Sarsekbayev said he was delighted to compete in the first ever WSB event and admitted he dreams of winning the tournament which will earn him automatic qualification for the London 2012 Olympics.

He said: "It was great to be here and have the crowd supporting me so I really want to say thank you to them.

"To win the WSB and qualify for London 2012 is now my goal.

"To win gold at London 2012 is my second dream after my first dream came true when I won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008."

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