Just 24 hours before the weigh-in for the historic World Series of Boxing (WSB) match between the Mexico Guerreros and the Cuba Domadores, we take a look at what we can expect this Thursday and Friday in Mexico City.
Day one sees the Guerrero’s Joselito Velazquez taking on Cuba’s Yosvany “El Diablo” Veitía at Light Flyweight (49kg). El Diablo (which is Spanish for the Devil), is the current World Bronze Medallist (from the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011) and even Velazquez admits that he “boxes at an extremely high level”. The Mexican meanwhile says he has been working with boxers that have the same characteristics as his opponent to help him prepare for this, his WSB debut. “I am happy to be able to test myself over five rounds, but also to face Joselito Velasquez from Mexico again”, said the Diabolo. “I am hoping to get revenge on him since I lost to him in the final of the Pan American Games in Guadalajara (2011). He is a good fighter and I am sure it will be a tough fight.”
At Flyweight (52kg), Mexico’s Elias “El Tornado” Emigdio goes toe to toe with national level Cuban boxer Gerardo Cervantes. The Tornado must be one of the few Mexican boxers who can go into his bout as a firm favourite. With a WSB record of 14-3 across three seasons, Emigdio is not taking his opponent lightly however, claiming he is “100% committed to his boxing career” and that he “expects a very hard match from a very strong opponent”.
Our Bantamweight (56kg), pairing Bryan Gonzalez for the Guerreros and Lazaro “El Principe” (the Prince) Alvarez, on the other hand looks set to be an incredibly demanding matchup for the Guerreros. The Cuban is currently ranked 2nd in the world by AIBA and is the defending AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) world champion. He also took a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Gonzalez meanwhile will be making his WSB debut in what will certainly be a baptism of fire.
Yasniel “the Prodigy” Toledo is deserved of his nickname. The Light Welterweight (64kg) Cuban superstar is also currently ranked 2nd in the AIBA World Ranking – at Lightweight (60kg) – and took a bronze in the London 2012 Olympic Games. He was also the silver medallist at the 2011 World Championships and the 2011 Pan American Champion. His Mexican opponent, Juan Pablo Romero meanwhile was the 2012 WSB Individual Champion and the 2010 Continental Championships silver medallist. He is fully aware that his Cuban opponent’s strength is his long range boxing and intends to dominate the battle by fighting to control the distance. As he puts it himself: “In general he is an excellent fighter. He controls the distance very well and always fights at his preferred (long) range. I think that ability to dictate the distance is his best weapon.” This one will be highly technical, and extremely interesting to watch.
In the final bout of day one, Irishman Conrad Cummings representing the Guerreros takes on Carlos “the Shadow” Banteur. The Shadow was the 2008 Olympic silver medallist and 2011 Pan American Champion and will be a big test for the County Tyrone man. The Celtic boxer may have the altitude on his side however, having flown to Mexico three weeks in advance to prepare for the event, which will take place in Mexico City, at an altitude of 2,600m.