Alberto Puig de la Barca says the Cuban team is looking to lead the event. Photo: Ismael Batista

With the goal of wining its 16th title, Cuba will send nine boxers to the Youth World Boxing Championships in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, set to take place November 17-26.

Cuba will not have a representative in the +91 kilogram division, reflecting the reality of the country's prospects in that weight class, in which Cuba has not won an Olympic or World medal for the last two years.

Discussing the group of young men who will compete in the Sibur Arena, Alberto Puig de la Barca, national boxing commissioner, told Granma International that the team led by Coach Esteban Cuellar Monzón from Cienfuegos is well prepared.

"They are competitors of great quality, in excellent athletic shape. Any one of them could get win a medal for our country, since we have been preparing to fight on this stage for the last two years," he emphasized.

The Commissioner pointed out that the young men have participated in several competitions facing opponents of their age group, both in Cuba and other countries, like the United states, with excellent results.

Before departing for Russia, the Cuban team has been training in the province of Cienfuegos since November 4, to fine-tune details of their physical preparation, according to Coach Cuellar.

In the opinion of Puig de la Barca, Cuba is in a position to win three gold medals and seven total, despite the high quality of many among the 400 young boxers from 70 countries who will be competing in St. Petersburg.

"Russia will be our main adversary, taking into account that it is hosting the event; its historical level in boxing; and the preparation of its boxers. Neither can we ignore other boxers from traditionally strong countries, who are arriving with a significant number of bouts under their belts as juveniles."

In the 49 kg division representing Cuba is Jorge Griñán Merencio (Sanctí Spíritus); 52 kg, Elio Crespo Santo (Havana); while Alexei Rodríguez Romero (Guantánamo ) will compete in the 56kg. Completing the team, in the 60kg is Raidel Rodríguez Ferray (Santiagio de Cuba); in the light welterweight (64) Damián Lescay Sifonte (Camagüey) will take the ring; Isamy Mesa Ramos and Osvary Morrell Gutiérrez from Villa Clara will compete in the 69 and 75 kg, respectively; Lenar Pérez Franzua (Holguín) in the 81kg; and in the 91kg, Dainier Peró Justis (Camagüey) has an opportunity to show what he can do.