By José Alejandro Rodríguez Zas After eight intense days of competition at the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia, venue of the contest, the World Bo
By José Alejandro Rodríguez Zas
After eight intense days of competition at the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia, venue of the contest, the World Boxing Championship will enter its decisive phase starting this Tuesday, November 2, when the quarterfinal phase will be played in each of the 13 divisions called by the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA).
Of the 650 boxers from 105 countries who started the tournament on October 24, the day of the opening ceremony, starting the bouts on Monday 25, a total of 104 still remain alive in the organization charts and will leave tomorrow for a bronze medal and guarantee , at least, a loot of 25 thousand dollars that the AIBA will deliver to the third places of the peso. With another victory, each boxer will sneak into the final, ensuring 50 thousand and in case of being champion, they will take home a total of 100 thousand dollars.
Boxers from 105 countries are to take part in the XXI AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade 🇷🇸. The number of registered boxers is 650 athletes, which is a record in the tournament’s history🥊 pic.twitter.com/DyVQxhwQ8V
– AIBA (@AIBA_Boxing) October 8, 2021
The Cuban boxing squad registered eight fighters in this tournament, out of a total of 12 who made the initial payroll, but four of them had to miss the trip for testing positive for the pandemic, just before the game. They were the cases of Billy Rodríguez from the capital (48 kg), Yosbany Veitía from Spiritus (54 kg) and Damián Arce (51 kg) and Dainier Peró (+92 kg) from Agramont.
Of the eight boxers, Cuba lost two of its best exponents and several times Olympic and world medalists, the Pinar del Río Roniel Iglesias (305-44) and Lazaro Alvarez (204-35), who gave up surprisingly in their debut fights, despite being title favorites in their respective divisions.
However, these are the only two defeats that the Cuban team has with a total of 15 wins, 10 of them consecutively, to reach the decisive day of the contest with six fighters. And I say decisive because, tomorrow, Tuesday, it will be decided who will go home empty-handed, financially speaking, and who will add several thousand dollars to their bank accounts, in addition to the actual sports result.
Next, we make an analysis of each of the Cuban fighters remaining in the competition and their possibilities:
57 kg: Osvel Caballero (47-19)
The Mayan boxer has a convincing three victories in the tournament and is, perhaps, Cuba’s greatest revelation in the contest, showing excellent sportsmanship in each of his presentations, with an intense beating over his rivals. Caballero defeated Azeri 5 × 0 Umid Rustamov (10-15), beat the Iranian by RSC in the second round Sajad Mohammadpour (6-12) and then overwhelmed the Armenian Artur bazeyan (11-8), the same unanimously. He will face the Mexican youngster in the quarterfinals Miguel Vega Barreras (3-3) a rival much inferior to the Antillean but who has presented himself in good shape.
63.5 kg: Andy Cruz (134-8)
The man from Matanzas is the best Cuban boxer today and one of the most outstanding pound for pound in the world. Olympic champion of Tokyo 2020 and world holder of the previous appointment of Yekaterinburg, 2019, are the most recent results of Andy, who has seen himself in excellent form and is a wide favorite to lift the gold medal in Belgrade 2021. The Antillean surpassed unanimously to the Panamanian Jonathan Miniel (1-6), to the Brazilian Nicollas de Jesus and the North American Vershaun Lee (20-5) and his next opponent will be the Uzbek Mujibillo Tursunov (10-3), who should not represent a problem for him, on his way to the top of the podium.
67 kg: Kevin Brown (68-22)
The Agramontino has had a World Cup with ups and downs. After winning in his debut for no presentation of the Jamaican Joshua frazer (JAM, 29-10), passed over the inexperienced fighter Shain boniface (0-7) of the Seychelles Islands by 5 × 0, a rival of very low technical level and in his third fight, he won with the just Indians Akash to be included in the round of 8, finding himself exhausted in the final round against a much more demanding opponent, despite the unanimous decision in his favor. The man from Camaguey will face the experienced Georgian tomorrow Lasha guruli (48-16) in a fight that could be extremely complicated for him if he doesn’t show his best level in the ring.
75 kg: Yoenlis Hernández (40-12)
This boxer from Camagüey is another who has remained solid in each of his outings and has already accumulated three successes in this Boxing World Cup. Yoenlis opened with a beating on Brazilian Wanderley pereira, then smoothly mastered Turkish Birol Augun (17-18) and in his last outing he won against the Indian Sumit convincingly, with a very good third round that sealed the win, his third unanimously 5 × 0. In the quarterfinals, Yoenlis will punch the 20-year-old Croatian boy in the middle of tomorrow Gabrijel veocic (11-6), the Antillean being the favorite to secure the bronze medal.
86 kg: Herich Ruiz (11-10)
The pinero is the most inexperienced Cuban boxer of the eight who participated in this contest and together with Caballero, he is the other who has brought a pleasant surprise to the Antillean squad. Ruiz beat the Serbian local in his debut Slobodan jovanovic (8-7), rival who made him throw in the towel in the first bars of the third round, with a strong and continuous punch that left the European with no options. In the second presentation, the Cuban tightly beat a more experienced rival like the Jordanian Zeyad Eashash (25-19), despite a second round voted 9-9 by the judges and a penalty of one point against him for sticking his head too far. However, two good rounds at the beginning and end of the fight, gave him the 4 × 0 victory and will start tomorrow against the Turk Burak Aksin (15-13) for being included in the podium of his division, a much more accessible rival.
92 kg Julio César La Cruz (252-22)
The captain of the Cuban team is the most experienced boxer in the squad, a four-time world champion and a two-time Olympic starter, showing up in very good shape at that event. La Cruz has been faithful to his elusive fighting style, constantly making his rivals fail with leg and waist movements, avoiding exchanges but always making the most of it at all distances. After being bye in the round of 64, the Camagüey overwhelmed his opponents in his two subsequent presentations, with advantages of 5 × 0, against the experienced Bulgarian boxer Radoslav Pantaleev (40-20) and the least known Iranian fighter Toufan Sharifi, to reach his duel tomorrow against another demanding rival, the Russian Saddam Magomedov (51-7), who represents Serbia, although La Cruz should have no problem winning.
In summary, the six Cuban boxers will leave tomorrow with ample options to win their bouts and secure the first $ 25,000 to their credit in this World Championship. Perhaps the one with the fewest options is Kevin Brown from Agramon at 67 kg, but his main rival is his inconsistency, more than the opponent himself, while Herich Ruiz will also go to a level fight but coming out as a favorite.
Full swing will continue to monitor the performance of Cuban boxers in the event and you will have all the information in this link.