A dominant 5-0 victory in Havana from Cuba Domadores over Mexico Guerreros extended their undefeated run in Season V of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) to 15 matches, and qualified the North American team into the WSB Finals for the second year in a row.
Only four matches will be able to take place in tomorrow’s second leg due to Light heavyweight (81 kg) Carlos Mina being unable to weigh-in and compete, which makes Cuba’s five match lead impossible to overhaul.
From the opening seconds of action Cuba displayed the skill and speed that has personified their boxing style for decades, while Mexico impressed despite fielding an inexperienced team which included three boxers making their season debut.
This was Cuba’s ninth whitewash victory of the season, and defeating them in the Final will be a hugely difficult task for either Astana Arlans Kazakhstan or Russian Boxing Team.
The night began with an assertive victory at Light flyweight (49 kg) from Cuba’s Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez, who secured his sixth win of the season against Mexican debutant Jose Daniel Rojas Romero.
Perez is just 18-years-old, but fights in the manner of a much more experienced boxer, and his control of the match was clear from the outset.
Romero was dogged and occasionally elusive, but the speed of Perez negated all Mexican attacks, which allowed the Domadore to accurately pick his punches.
At the end of the contest, all three judges awarded every round to the electrifying youngster.
London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez returned to WSB for the first time since January, and made up for lost time as he defeated Bantamweight (56 kg) Ivan Jesus Delgado.
Ramirez started the bout with great intent, stamping his authority across all three minutes of the first round with stiff jabs and sharp right hands.
Delgado improved from that point forward however, and though Ramirez claimed the second round according to the judges, the superior stamina of his rival saw him lose the third frame on two scorecards.
Despite his fading legs, Ramirez rallied to clinch the last two rounds, and he doubled Cuba’s advantage with a unanimous decision triumph.
Two-time AIBA World Championships silver medalist Yasnier Toledo then earned his seventh win of the season, and secured an unassailable first leg lead for Cuba against Roberto Zariñana Gomez.
Toledo was the better fighter in each round, and showcased his wide range of attacks which frequently troubled Zariñana.
Many Cuban fighters are blessed with phenomenal footwork, but Toledo’s is at another level entirely, and his quick feet enabled him to maneuver the bout as he saw fit.
Cuba’s lead increased further after 7-1 Middleweight (75 kg) Arlen Lopez widely outpointed Mexico’s Misael Uriel Rodríguez Oliva.
Lopez enjoyed a sizeable height and reach advantage, and his shot variety was impressive with his uppercuts a particularly potent weapon.
WSB Season IV Boxer of the Season Erislandy Savon vaulted over the ropes into the ring before his Heavyweight (91 kg) meeting with Ecuador’s Julio Cesar Castillo Torres, and he was similarly jubilant after enjoying his eighth win of the campaign.
Both fighters had undefeated records prior to the start of the fight, and a cagey first round exploded into life in the last 30 seconds as it appeared that Castillo had knocked Savon down with a right hand.
Despite the referee indicating the knockdown, all three judges awarded the first round to Savon who began the second frame with intent, after perhaps feeling embarrassed at what had just occurred.
With menace in his eyes, a right-left combo knocked Torres down early in round two, before the Ecuadorian was forced to pull out of the fight moments later due to an injured nose.
The TKO win not only kept Savon’s unbeaten run going, but also assured Cuba of a place in their second successive WSB Final.