The new WSB Franchise Argentina Condors has been working hard behind the scenes, with a good network of scouts and coaches, in order to add the right blend of boxers to their ranks, ensuring that they have some of the best and most promising fighters from the region ready to make a name for themselves this season. When they make their long awaited bow in the competition next month, taking on a host of tough teams in Group A, they are expected to surprise a few with the power in their squad.
Amongst those recruited to head up a formidable group is 22-year-old Bantamweight Alberto Melián, who many predict will take the competition by storm. The native of Villa Dolores, in the province of Cordoba, is relishing the opportunity to test himself in the world’s premiere team competition. The son of former South American Light Welterweight Champion Jorge Melián, Alberto is keen to emulate the success of his father, and after representing his country at the London 2012 Olympic Games; he is now ready to mix it up with the best in the business. We needed to know more.
What was the attraction of boxing in the WSB? There were rumours you would turn pro.
The WSB is a great competition and you also retain your Olympic eligibility. I got a taste of the Olympics in London this summer and I was so proud of being able to represent my country on the biggest stage of all, I want to do it again. I want to be at Rio 2016 and this time I want to bring home a medal. I want the glory. The WSB is fantastic because it will allow me to compete against the best, raise my level and still represent my country. It is the place to be, I want to prove myself in this tough competition. The other boxers are real monsters and have real pedigree. I know I can quickly adapt to the pro style.
So you think the WSB is the place to be?
No doubt, I know that pursuing my Olympic dream is what will keep me motivated to continue improving myself. I am young and want to develop. The best amateur boxers are all going to the WSB. Most of the world’s great champions have made their mark at amateur level and with the WSB you get the best of everything.
Many say you could earn more money going pro. What are your thoughts on this?
It is not about money, it is about the sport, the glory. With the funding I get through the Argentinean Federation I have everything I need, for me it is the competition that is important, the fighters that I am going to face, money will come later.
What about changing your style from amateur to pro?
My boxing style is at the moment amateur. Without headguards and with smaller gloves I will need to add more power to become better. I am progressing, changing my style, learning more things, training in another way, punching low and making the opponent weak before finishing him off. I am enjoying it. There are 5 rounds of 3 minutes, so we train five rounds of three and a half or four minutes to increase stamina and endurance. With the WSB I will be in even better shape than I am now. The set-up with the Condors is very professional and the whole team is looking hungry. We are changing together so I am really enjoying the process.
Have you analysed the other teams in Group A?
The Russian and Azeri teams are very strong and very powerful. They have a lot of experience and some excellent boxers in their squads. Group B however looks a lot tougher on paper so as newcomers we have a better chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. The competition looks so strong this season.
Do you know your rivals at Bantamweight? What are your thoughts on them?
With all boxers not yet confirmed, it is hard to give my opinion. At the moment all I can tell you is that the whole focus is solely on the challenge of facing the Azeris in our first match. Preparations have all been geared towards the 17th of October.
What are your aims for the season, as a team?
We want to qualify from the Group to be in the last eight. From there, anything is possible.
Many think that position one and two in the Group are out of reach for the Condors, do you agree?
No, I think we will come first in the group. With all respect to the other teams, we have what it takes to finish top of the Group. Many fans across the world will not have heard of us yet but I can assure you that people like John Velazco at Middleweight and Henry Polanco will surprise a few, I am amazed by them. There is of course Yamil Peralta at Heavyweight, he made it to the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games and he is a real explosive fighter. We have closed ourselves off from the world, we are training like mad and killing ourselves to be sure that we qualify from this group.