A marvelous 5-0 first leg victory for Cuba Domadores against Mexico Guerreros has already assured the Cuban team their place in a second successive World Series of Boxing (WSB) Final, as Mexico are unable to produce a boxer in all five of the scheduled weight categories of the second leg.
After Light heavyweight (81 kg) Carlos Mina was unable to weigh-in for his second leg contest with Cuba’s Julio Cesar La Cruz because of illness, his bout was declared a walkover victory for La Cruz, and with no Mexican reserve boxer available in the weight class, only four matches can now take place in the second leg.
The 5-0 defeat last night means that Mexico are unable to make up the difference on aggregate even if they win all four of the matches, so they are competing solely for pride in this fixture rather than a place in the final.
Cuba has won all of their 15 fixtures this season, with nine of those triumphs being whitewash victories.
Ciudad Deportiva, La Habana is the venue for this semi-final clash, where on Friday 22nd May fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 20:30 (GMT -4) at AIBABoxingTV.com.
Frank Osvaldo Zaldívar Santisteban makes his first appearance of the season in the opening match as he takes on 4-3 Mexican Flyweight (52 kg) Orlando Huitzil Ahuatl.
Santisteban is an exciting Cuban prospect, but Ahuatl boasts plenty of WSB experience having already competed in 35 rounds this season.
Two-time AIBA World Champion Lazaro Alvarez has been one of the best boxers in Season V of WSB, and the 7-0 southpaw finished top of the Lightweight (60 kg) rankings at the end of the Regular Season.
Alvarez meets 5-1 Lindolfo Delgado in Havana, with his Mexican opponent coming off an excellent quarter-final triumph away in Azerbaijan.
Both of these boxers possess superb boxing fundamentals and tactical brains, which should make a very entertaining event.
The penultimate match of this semi-final is a Welterweight (69 kg) rematch between Cuba’s Olympic and AIBA World Championships gold medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo, and 2-1 Héctor Andrés Reyes Anguiano.
Sotolongo lost twice in the group stages and has had a relatively disappointing season by his own high standards, while Anguiano is fresh off a devastating knockout victory over Orkhan Khasmammadov in the quarter-finals.
It was the Cuban boxer however who won their first meeting in week 12 of the Regular Season, and the wide margin of that victory makes him the favourite to succeed again in Havana.
6-1 Super heavyweight (91+ kg) Domador Lenier Eunice Pero closes the semi-final as he meets former Pan American Games bronze medalist Jorge Quiñonez.
Pero is not the heaviest hitter in the biggest weight class of WSB, but the 22-year-old has excellent stamina for a Super heavyweight, and has already beaten decorated opponents this season including Russia’s Maxim Babanin.