Week Seven of the World Series of Boxing began in Vargas on Friday night with the Venezuela Caciques looking to continue their push for the Play-Offs with a win over two-time champions Cuba Domadores. It was a breathless match from the outset with both teams looking to entertain and go on the offensive, but it was the experienced Cubans who were able to assume the precious early advantage and never let it go.
The lightweights (60kg) began proceedings, Venezuelan number one and Rio 2016 Olympian Luis Angel Cabrera facing Domadores’ dynamic 21-year-old Armando Martinez. Cabrera rained down the punches early on, but the Cuban’s footwork repeatedly got him out of trouble, allowing him to gradually find his own rhythm and by the third round Martinez looked in command. An excellent fourth round from Cabrera put the tie in the balance, but it was the enduring energy of Martinez that eventually earned a unanimous win to put the visitors ahead.
The lead was doubled after a thrilling victory for Cuba’s former Olympic champion Roniel Iglesias, who recovered from a second-round knock-down by Caciques’ Gabriel Maestre to win their Welterweight (69kg) contest by split decision and put the Domadores within reach of all three points. Venezuelan Light Heavyweight (81kg) Albert Ramirez had other ideas, however, and having already tasted victory against his opponent Julio Cesar La Cruz over three rounds in 2015, he followed a similar tactic as he sought to stifle Cuba’s flamboyant captain. Landing individual jabs and staying out of range, Ramirez built up an early lead before La Cruz responded to win rounds three and four and set up a nail-biting final three minutes, during which Ramirez kept his composure to outscore La Cruz and haul his side back into the match.
Cuban Super Heavyweight (+91kg) Jose Larduet soon dashed any hopes of a comeback, however, flooring Caciques’ Brazilian import Henrique Dos Santos Nascimento two minutes into their bout to win by RSC and deliver the win in emphatic fashion. That left Venezuela’s Rio 2016 bronze medalist Yoel Finol and Yosbany Veitia to duel it out at Flyweight (52kg) in the final bout of the match, Finol finishing with a flourish to win by unanimous decision but still leaving the Venezuelans with a mountain to climb if they are to make it through to the Play-Offs once more.