An area of a little more than six square metres, a referee, two boxers, five rounds of three minutes and all the hopes of two countries for victory. We spoke with Cuban welterweight Arisnoidys Despaigne, who was part of such a setting in the decisive sudden-death bout for the World Series of Boxing season IV Champions Title. The Santiago de Cuba native preserved his season’s unbeaten record in Baku, with four wins – all of them away from Havana, in what was a thoroughly fierce fight against Baku Fires’ Yauheni Ramashkevich which saw the class of the Cuban prove enough to overcome the hardened spirit of the Azeri, allowing the Domadores to write a new chapter in WSB history in what was their debut season.
Congratulations on the WSB title. How did you feel the sudden death bout went?
Thank you very much. The fight was very important for the whole team as it gave us the point needed to win the championship. It was the decisive fight and a very tough one. My opponent is renowned in Azerbaijan and I had to face him in front of his fans, in his country. There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders in this bout but it ultimately worked out very well. Thanks to the help and advice of my coaches, we managed to grab the victory.
The Serhedci Olympic Centre was like a cauldron during the weekend, did you feel pressure of the atmosphere at any time?
Yes, of course. I was fighting in a country which is very different to mine and it was really noticeable, but I had prepared myself well and I was psychologically at my peak at the right moment. This is why in the end I didn’t encounter that many problems and I managed to get the job done.
How did you feel when the referee raised your arm?
I felt a great joy for the victory Cuba was greatly expecting and personally I realized that I am full of confidence that will enable me to win future fights. I will never forget how in this deciding fight the whole team was cheering for me and boosting my self-belief. In such moments, one’s heart is simply vibrating. Then I felt the joy of winning the trophy for Cuba; I realized the match was over and we were going back to our country.
How do you think this title will affect boxing in Cuba?
It is very beneficial for us. Everyone at home was anxiously awaiting this triumph and will now be giving us more credit thanks to this victory. I think it has given them reason to put faith in the Cuba Domadores.
You are unbeaten in all four of your fights in 2013-14 with all of them coming away from home. How do you see your future in WSB?
We think that we can repeat our success even though it will be very difficult. For the Cuban Domadores, no opponent is easy as they all have their qualities, their ethics, but our boxing is well recognized worldwide which reinforces our self-belief. This, in addition to the crucial role played by our coaches will lead to future victories and success. Furthermore, we are already training for next season as part of our continuous preparation scheme. Our notion is that, given we managed to claim the title in our first season, we are not going to become complacent but instead continue to try and achieve more triumphs in the future.