Cuban Boxing received the news that they would be placed in a World Series of Boxing (WSB) group that includes current champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, and last year’s Semi-finalists Mexico Guerreros very stoically.
The group, which the Spanish language media has already dubbed “el grupo de la muerte” (the group of death), also includes a Russian team that utterly dominated this year’s EUBC European Championships,and two of last year’s WSB quarter finalists: Azerbaijan Baku Fires and Hussars Poland.
“It’s a difficult group,” admitted Alberto Puig de la Barca, President of the Cuban boxing Federation, “but we have always said that the quality of this event is one of the reasons why we decided to participate.”
Three months before they meet in the WSB, the Cuba Domadores and the Mexico Guerreros are planning to square off in a season warm-up bout in Mexico City.
Though details are yet to be confirmed, it is understood that the match will be fought over ten weight categories, as indeed will all WSB matches this season, in a change from in all previous years where the WSB contested bouts over just five weight categories. The decision to align the competition with the weight categories used by AIBA in the Olympics and by AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) which is due to launch later this year has been widely welcomed by the boxing community.
The match will be important for the Domadores and Puig who feels that it will be essential for his team to get a feel for the competition before the season begins, particularly as matches are fought across five rounds, which is more than the three his boxers and coaches are used to. He also cited getting used to the scoring system, a ten-must system, rather than the electronic scoring system his boxers have used in AIBA events as being important. Interestingly, even these AIBA events will soon be using the ten-must system in a harmonisation effort, which will render things more straight forward for boxers in the future, so the exercise will by no means be a wasted effort for the Cuban men.
The weight of the gloves will also be different for some of his boxers, increasing from eight to ten ounces for men up to 64kg and 12 ounces for -69kg men and above.
“For us it will be the first official event across five, three minute rounds we have faced, but the national team coaches have already built a program which will allow us to be fit to compete”. He said.
Although the Domadores have not yet announced the team that they will send, because “it will depend on who is selected for the Pan American Championships”, De la Barca ensured that “whatever happens we will see an elite team of boxers, headed by top level athletes” in Mexico.