With four months to go until the end of 2017, Cuban boxing is already showing solid credentials to take the award for best sporting discipline of the year after winning the 19th World Boxing Championship on September 2, in Hamburg, Germany.
Two years after winning in Qatar, the Cuban team, led by head coach Rolando Acebal, reclaimed the title which had eluded them since the 2005 Mianyang edition in China.
The squad arrived in Germany determined to take the top spot, with team coaches predicting six medals: three gold, one silver and two bronze.
The team surpassed this expectation, going one better to secure a total of seven medals: five gold and two silver.
Cuba’s performance reaffirms the quality of its fighters who continue to dominate International Boxing Association (AIBA) competitions, with the most recent edition in Germany being no exception, where several boxers gave the best performance of their careers.
This was the case for gold medal winners light-welter weight from Matanzas Andy Cruz (64kg), and his teammate Erislandy Savón (91 kg).
In less than a year Cruz’s almost impeccable technique, specifically his balance and stability along with strong close, medium, and long range punches, has seen him become a difficult man to beat in both Cuban and international bouts. Meanwhile, Savón finally gave fans what they had been waiting for. At the Sporthalle Arena, the boxer from Guantanamo went from zero to 100, with his crowning moment arriving in the final against Evgeny Tishchenko from Russian, where an effective right fist and ability to remain composed, saw him defeat the Río 2016 Olympic gold medalist.
The World Boxing Championships saw many of the best AIBA fighters come out to compete just one year after the Olympic games, during which some of the top figures in the sport take a well-deserved rest, or prepare to make the move to professional boxing.
However, this time, almost all divisions featured the best fighters on the planet, including Olympic and World Champions, making for a quality event, with the cream of the crop competing in the final of every category.
It is also important to mention that the island’s World Championship win comes after the Domadores de Cuba took second place a couple of months ago during the 7th World Series of Boxing (WSB), a result which far from a failure, demonstrates Cuba’s consistency in international competition, as maintaining the top spot, year after year, in individual and collective categories, is no easy task.
Special mention must also go to the team’s coaches and trainers, the anonymous heroes, who must swallow every defeat, and immediately face rectifying their pupil’s mistakes and getting them in peak form for subsequent competitions.
Meanwhile, Cuban boxers can only expect a short rest with the Playa Girón National Boxing Championship just around the corner, in December, followed by the 8th WSB, and then the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018, where the Cuba’s sporting delegation will face even tougher challenges.