With the final training sessions completed and anticipation building before 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 two kicks off with Lightweights (60kg) Lindolfo “Gorgeous” Delgado from Mexico versus Cuba’s Ivan “The Terrible” Oñate. Oñate has won several major events within Cuba, but has not had as much experience as some of his compatriots at the international level. Lindolfo will also be making his WSB debut, meaning that this is a bout that could go either way. He said that he considers himself “to be a smart fighter”, explaining that “I don’t just get into the ring and throw punches, but rather what I try to do is avoid taking damage whilst serving up plenty of my own”.
“Marvellous” Marvin Cabrera faces Luis “the Phantom” Oliva at Welterweight (69kg) after Cuba’s leading boxer Roniel Sotolongo was unfortunately ruled out at the 11th hour. This means that the highly rated Cabrera, the number one Welterweight in the WSB last season will step into the ring against an almost unknown quantity in Oliva. This will be blow for the Mexican who had previously emphasised that he was preparing specifically for Sotolongo, saying “we are working with the coaches on a strategy to face him”. This almost certainly means he was preparing for a southpaw and we will have to wait to see whether that will be useful to him against Oliva. Yet the Guerreros athlete is in good spirits saying, “I was undefeated last season and hope to repeat that feat this year, I feel strong, motivated and excited”.
At Light Heavyweight (81kg) meanwhile in an odd clash of profession based nicknames the “soldier” takes on the “doctor” as Issac “El Soldado” Muñozlines up against “El Doctor” Julio Cesar de la Cruz. Muñoz, who is unbeaten on home soil for the Guerreros, will nonetheless face a tough task when he takes on the current AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) World Champion de la Cruz. As the number three in AIBA World Ranking, de la Cruz will be a force to be reckoned with. Muñoz feels that his opponent “is a fighter who always goes forward on the attack. So the strategy is to fight smart and not to rush”. But the Mexican admitted that his Domadores opponent “is a very strong fighter and has a lot of experience. That is his greatest strength”. De la Cruz has no intention of changing his approach for this match stating: “my strategy will be the same, follow the directions of my coaches, follow the plan, be confident that the preparation was good and will guarantee a good result”, said the World Champ.
At Heavyweight (91kg), the Guerreros Farrukh “El Loco” Karimov has Cuban Erislandy Savón to deal with. The bout will be the WSB debut for both athletes (as it will of course be for the whole Cuban team). The Tajikistani boxer may have some size advantage over his Cuban opponent, having only recently moved down from Super Heavyweight (91+kg). But the edge in experience goes to Savón. Currently ranked 9th in the world by AIBA for AOB events, he is the former World Junior Champion and will be looking to make his mark in the WSB this year.
At Super Heavyweight (91+kg), Morocco’s experienced Mohammed Arjaoui will take to the canvas for the Guerreros. A 2008 Olympian and WSB veteran, Arjaoui may well have the tools to cause his Cuban opponent difficulties despite the fact that José “the Panther” Larduet was an AOB World Bronze Medallist in 2009. It will be interesting to see how this pans out with the Cuban facing the added difficulties of the altitude and competing across five rounds for the first time.
Day 1: 49kg, 52kg, 56kg, 64kg, 75kg
Day 2: 60kg, 69kg, 81kg, 91kg, 91+kg