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  • Submitted by: lena campos
  • 12 / 10 / 2013

Cuban boxers are making their World Series of Boxing almost a walkover event.
Last Friday at Havana's Sports City (Cuidad Deportiva), the Cuban boxing team, Domadores de Cuba, outpunched their Russian rivals five-nil on what was the islanders' first-ever home contest in the World Series of Boxing.

Cubans, who are yet to lose a match since the start of this year's WSB, entered the ring one after the other full of confidence despite knowing the strength of their rivals

In the 49kg category, Cuba's Yosbany Veitia outplayed his Russian rival Bator Sagaluev to a unanimous decision of 3-0 (50-44, 50-45, 50-45).

Cuba's Marcos Forestal, however, had it hard with a well-composed and determined Russian Muhammad Shehov in the 56kg category. It was a match that to most spectators stole the day. The fight was stopped on two occasions to enable Forestal be attended to by medicals as blood oozed from a cut on his forehead.

But with huge local support, Forestal gained some confidence and in the fifth round managed to penetrate his opponent and unleashed an uppercut that brought the fight to a conclusion. With both boxers bleeding on their faces, Forestal emerged winner with a divided decision of 2-1 (48-47, 48-47, 47-48).

Cuba's newly incorporated fighter Luis Oliva had a tough test on his debut but succeeded in seeing off his rival Radjab Butaev in the 64-kilogramme category with a unanimous decision of 3-0 (48-45, 47-46, 48-45).

On the other hand, the 75 kg category was full of entertainment as Cuba's Ramon Luis displayed his penguin-stance tactics on high note leaving his rival Andrey Efremenko with little chance. While the Russian displayed some good boxing skills victory, the day was for Luis and the judges unanimously awarded a decision of 3-0 (49-46, 50-45, 49-44).

The final fight of the evening in the 91kg category saw Cuba's Erislandy Savon easily out-box Vitaly Kudukhov with a unanimous 3-0 decision of 50-45, 50-45, 50-45.

Success on the night gave Cuba a huge boost as they head for Kazakhstan who are the WSB champions.

In a post-match interview, Savon said Russia was a strong side but that Cubans proved the strongest of the day.

"Our preparations paid off. Physically we came in very prepared and as you saw all the boxers had their minds set for victory," he said.

Cuban coach Rolando Acebal said his boxers' conception was very positive and praised them for great performance.

He said Russia was a strong rival and the result was very motivating for the federation and boxers.

"It's not a joke that they have registered 50 boxers for the series. To this fight they brought a new team that we don't know and as such it was not easy on our part," said Acebal. "Yes, we expected victory but not 5-0. This just shows how focussed our boxers are. The boys are very prepared and we have set up a training programme meant exactly at having them ready for such challenging matches. We have very strong rivals and next week we are going to meet the current world champions Kazakhstan."

Russian coach Alexander Lebziak said his team was well prepared but that Cuba turned out to be too perfect in the ring.

"Sometimes even home support plays a vital role in such meetings," said Lebziak.

"There were some decisions that we did not agree with. If you look at the second fight, my boy was outstanding in all angles but as I said home support played a vital role in keeping their boxer in the ring. I did not agree with the result, but that is how it goes in the sports world."
Cuba is enjoying their best form after defeating Mexico 5-0 and Poland by the same margin.


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