Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

Anyone who missed out on seeing some of the most intense fights of the last Playa Girón National Boxing Championship will have the opportunity to witness several of these duels again on March 10, when the top-rated and second place figures in each of the ten weight divisions will take part in the Cuban Boxing Gala, in Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva.

The boxers will have as added motivation the fact that their results in this event will be taken into consideration on drawing up the Cuban team to participate in the qualifying tournament for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, which will take place in Managua, Nicaragua, April 4 to 10.

As Alberto Puig de la Barca, national commissioner of the sport, told this paper, the event at the Ciudad Deportiva’s Coliseum is a critical part of training in the lead-up to the Lima Games.

As a novelty, the fixture will include 11 fights, as the +91 kilogram division will see two duels. The first will be between 2018 national champion, Dainier Pero, from Camagüey, and the experienced José Larduet, from Santiago; while the other fight will feature Carlos Castillo and Yoandry Toirac, both from Havana, head-to-head.

According to Puig, it was agreed to hold two matches in the super heavyweight division as right now, the four boxers in question are performing at a very similar level, and thus the event offers an opportunity to determine the best fighter to represent Cuba in the major events of the 2019 season.

“There are other divisions where it is very clear who the first and second figures are in Cuba. However, in the highest weight division, we see a parity that benefits our boxing. We cannot renounce the possibility of seeing these four men competing for a greater goal,” Puig stressed.

“Dainier Pero is the national champion, and offers all-round boxing. Larduet was our best man internationally in 2018. Toirac is in great sporting shape, while Castillo is a fighter with a great punch, and has refined his technique,” he added.

The lead exponent of the 49kg division, Damián Arce from Camagüey, will compete either against Billy Rodríguez, or the national second place, Alibel Poll. Puig explained that this decision will be made by national team coaches at the last minute, based on which of the two, from Havana and Santiago, respectively, is in best sporting form.

Unless there is an injury or technical decision adopted beforehand, it is expected that local multi-champion Yosvani Veitía will appear in the ring against Rafael Joubert (52kg) of Guantánamo; while the new figure of the 56kg division, Osval Caballero, from Mayabeque, will compete against Osvaldo Díaz, from Sancti Spíritus.

The rest of the roster will be made up of: Lazaro Álvarez from Pinar del Río against Darielki Palmero from Sancti Spíritus (60kg); Matanzas’ Andy Cruz against the Guantánamo’s Jorge Moirán (64kg); Roniel Iglesias from Pinar del Río against Kevin Brown from Camagüey (69kg); Guantánamo’s Arlen López versus the Matanzas’ Osley Iglesias (75kg); four-time 81kg World Champion, Julio César La Cruz, will face Pinar del Rio’s Osnay Bencomo; and finally, Guantánamo’s Erislandy Savón will go head-to-head with Havana’s Ángelo Morejón (91kg).