Another Stripe for the AIBA

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has just added another stripe to its already loaded suit of irregularities: the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season VIII won’t have quarter-final leg.

In a previous commentary we already noticed that this event, pretty useful for Cuban boxing, is running a serious risk of disappearing because of the lack of seriousness of the AIBA when setting the rules, especially in the decisive instances, precisely those that claim it the most.

It all turned out perfectly in its first editions, but in the last ones they agree something in the technical congress of the event, but then another is done, when the moment of truth arrives.

First, when they said that the final would be in the country of the best qualified team of the regular leg, but it did not happen like that, and last year the title match was hardly held of budget problems.

Money issue seems to be the one that keeps the Series agonizing, although the AIBA, which in addition still has serious problems of governability, hasn’t recognized it publicly.

Consequently, teams such as Uzbek Tigers that thought to take part in the postseason, will no longer have chance to the throne, hence their preparation plans will be disrupted.

According to a draw recently held with no justification because there was a global ranking of the Series, the semifinals will include Cuban Tamers vs. French Fighting Roosters on one hand, and British Lionhearts vs. Astana Arlans Kazakhstan on the other hand.

Firstly, they will fight in the C-2 format and then in the C-1 one (Cuba closes the Series at home) on May 18 and 25, and in case of a draw at the end of the ten fights of the regular schedule, the tie-breaker will be an extra bout in the 69 kg division.

You’d better do not ask me how and where the final will be held. The brainy executives of the AIBA will already be thinking how to close the event in the best way, and surprises are not ruled out.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

Cuban Domadores against Colombian Heroicos in WSB

The Cuba Domadores appear as favorite over the Colombia Heroicos in the final match for group A of the 8th World Series of Boxing (WSB) to take place next Friday.

With 12 points, four wins and one loss, the WSB current runner-up only need achieving any kind of victory over the South American squad, which will be local, to end as leader of this Poole A as thus, they would surpass the Uzbek Tigers, who amount 13 units, but already finished their performance of the qualifying stage.

The Caribbean side will use its aces Lazaro Alvarez (60 kg), Roniel Iglesias (69), Julio Cesar La Cruz (81) and Jose Angel Larduet (+91).
The four of them are world medalists, are unbeaten in two outings in the current season and have higher rank than their opponents: Duvan Zuleta (0-2), Jhan Carlos Ubarnes (0-1), Diego Motoa (0-1) and Cristian Salcedo (1-1).

The Central American silver medalist Ceiber Avila (52), undefeated in two bouts this season, is the major hope of victory of the local side as he will face inexperienced Arnolys Bignotte (0-1), only Cuban with lower pedigree than his rival.

The Colombia Heroicos amount seven points and no matter the result of this match they will rank third in Group A, while the Venezuela Caciques already finished on bottom of the standings with four units.

  • Published in Sports

Cuba Domadores overcome Caciques Venezuela in a unique back to back nights in Vargas

Cuba Domadores maintained their pursuit to top Group Americas with a hard-earned double header win over the Caciques de Venezuela in Vargas on Friday and Saturday night.

It was a rare situation in the WSB, as both teams met two nights in a row. Friday night included the win of one of Venezuela’s favorite boxer, Olympic medalist Yoel Finol, over 2 times Olympic Champion Robeisy Ramirez for the pleasure of an ecstatic Venezuelan crowd.

Despite this impressive win, the Caciques lost 2-3 the Friday night matchup. Saturday night proved to be a difficult task for the Caciques versus a Cuban squad that included some Olympic and World champions. The Domadores walked away with their second win of the weekend, 4-1, and the full 6 points.

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Uzbek Tigers secure 4-1 win over Cuba Domadores in Olympic showdown

The Uzbek Tigers hosted the Cuba Domadores in a packed Tashkent arena on Tuesday night; with the home team looking to make amends for their 5-0 Week Two defeat in Havana.

A hard earned victory for the hosts served as a reminder of their strong team and their great potential to reach the Play-offs.

Led by Rio 2016 Olympic Champion, Hasanboy Dusmatov, the Tigers clinched the three points showing a marginal superiority over the Cuban squad in what was a feast of Olympic boxing of the highest level.

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Rolando Acebal: Cuban boxing and its nautical chart in 2018

Guantanamo’s Rolando Acebal is a coach who knows where to direct the objectives of the Cuban boxing squad.

He talks about baseball and feels it like all Cubans passionate about sports. He keeps his deeply-rooted local accent and asserts that one of the keys for success of our boxing school lies in coordination, that grace or kind of dance that is in our genes and the way in which our boxers translate it into the ring.

He heads our squad since 2010, talks slowly, as if thoroughly thinking about every word and agreed to dialogue with CubaSi before the second match of the Cuba Domadores vs. the Uzbek Tigers, belonging to the C2 of the 8th World Series Boxing:

Do you intend to keep the first figures throughout the regular stage of the 8th Series? It’s something that has been questioned before…

“In these first matches we will present the winners of the last Playa Giron Tournament, except the +91 kg division, where Jose Angel Larduet returns, because Erislandy Savon returned to 91 kg. Then, on the road, we will go handling changes, in tune with the potentialities that we have in each category. The intention is to attend well prepared to win back the Series title.

“In the case of the Uzbeks, it is good to have them in the group. Their status as Rio de Janeiro Olympic champs, in addition to the fact that this country is one of the main powers in world boxing at present, contributes us rivalry and an important meter, even when they did not present in this first match their first men, except super heavyweight Jalalov.

“It is a team of remarkable quality and being at home always gave us the idea to go out to sweep, because despite starting the Series our boys are well prepared, resulting from a high-level Giron, especially in the semifinal and final bouts”.

The strategy with Julio Cesar la Cruz thinking of Barranquilla too?

“We must take into account several factors with Julio: the main thing is his health, we cannot take him to all competitions. We are talking about 12 years fighting in 81 kg, he has already reached his top performance, sports mastery and we cannot exhaust him. With that development controlling his weight too often becomes biologically complicated. That’s why; he fought in 91 kg at the Giron.

“In the important events he will fight in 81, with a strict planning, working time. In the decisive matches of the World Series he will fight in the same division, as well as in Barranquilla.

“That will be an event in which we will have to fight very accurately. Despite being Central American and Caribbean Games we cannot afford a margin of error. We will go out in pursuit of a great performance. There are countries with world-category individualities in the area. Julio Cesar himself lost once to Venezuelan Albert Ramirez. We always have a high commitment and are a regional benchmark in that competition”.

Are the +91 kg still the least solid division in our squad?

“At world-elite level, yes. We dominate in the area, but when we exchange fists with the best cards from Europe we have difficulties. We are working based on the strengthening of this division. It goes through attracting athletes from cadet categories with a physical somatotype close to the ideal thing in height-weight, in order to direct the efforts towards their technical development later. For example, now at the recently finished tournament in India, Yoandy Toirac lost in semis vs. Jalalov, issue that influenced Larduet’s designation.

“That is a substantial element. Our super heavyweights have many disadvantages in that extend with the best in the planet. And a Roberto Balado seldom comes out”.

Ahead of the following stage and for the sake of winning the title back, how do you see your pupils?

“We are more strengthened than in the previous season. Robeisy’s entry into the team again will surely contribute to put the seal. It’s no secret that in some divisions we need to stabilize performances. The more experienced athletes now”.

“We have hardly undergone changes in the team membership and motivations and willingness of both the technical staff and the boxers are very high. We do not sleep and are always waiting for any detail that undermines the integrity of the sportsman and affects the potentiality of the team”.

“We are always monitoring that continuity of the athlete’s life”.

It’s still soon, but what would be your forecast ahead of Barranquilla?

“Objectively, we have hardnoses of the stature of Colombian Yubergen Martinez (49 kg), Olympic runner-up, who has beaten our first figure Jhoannys Argilagos twice. Venezuela has Finol (52), bronze medallist in Rio de Janeiro 2016. Also included is Dominican Dos Santos, a 56 kg-boxer with many resources. In spite of that, we have planned to pick up no less than 8 golds”.

Always with the bar very high. A lightning fist exchange in which tied: Acebal with his calmness, while I was moving fast and striking him with jabs of questions. The verdict: an unquestionable draw and search for constant success for our flagship.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

WSB final match: Necessary evil

Our editorial staff has received several phone calls and emails, with regard to the celebration of the final match of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in Kazakhstan.

In general, local fans outraged because of the unfulfillment of what was agreed at the technical meeting regarding the celebration of home-and-away match to dispute the crown.

Aimed at clarifying doubts, I went to the Cuban Federation of this sport, and its president, Alberto Puig, confirmed that its initial state was the same. As an executive member of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), he stated his disagreement with the measure, but weighed up the pros and cons and preferred not to deprive our boxers from disputing the crown there, even under adverse conditions.

Cubans also rejected the fact that the official website of the event had published that the final would be there, even when the conditions were still being negotiated, so it was understood as a measure of pressure.

Of course, since it was not Cuba’s responsibility, our authorities demanded that the organizers cover the travel and subsistence expenses of the whole Cuban delegation (18 people) for a week, in which the members of the Domadores, including the figure in charge of deciding a likely tie, would benefit with a training base on Kazakh soil.

Moreover, and most importantly, he demanded in a clear tone that organizers have to provide total guarantees so all votes reflect what happened on the ring. Puig told me he wants to avoid at all costs an incident similar to the World Cup Houston-1999, because that would affect the image of IABA significantly, but he did not rule out withdrawing the squad if authentic deprivations take place at the Astana Sports Palace.

Finally, he explained that the line-up of the Domadores for the crucial clash would be released hours before departing to Kazakhstan, that is, at the end of next week.

From all this, you can gather once again that the Cuban Federation has acted with full transparency, and that the lack of seriousness does not fall over the Domadores, who will fight with all their strength to regain the crown they won last year.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Mr Money: Protagonist at the final of the 7th World Series of Boxing (WSB)

The history of world sports has been riddled with scandals of the most diverse nature. It happens that there are always variables linked to “Mr Money”, which distort the ludic essences and the clean exchange or confrontation promoted by Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

From doping phenomena, corruption, sold games, aggressions, attacks, to sums of money on the basis of changes of venue, are included among the countless examples.

Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Chinese gymnast Dong Fangxiao, Ben Jhonson, FIFA, East Germany’s female swimming team at Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980 Olympics, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the boxing referees suspended after questionable decisions in Rio 2016, in the end….

Without reaching those stratospherical levels of cheats, but actually, violating the regulations of the 7th World Series of Boxing, which stated that all levels would be disputed with home-and-away matches, the top organizing executives of the tournament decided that the final between Kazakhstan’s Astana Arlans and Cuba’s Domadores (Wranglers) would be held at the Sports Palace in the Kazakh capital.

In fact, Friday, June 23 was the day to open the match at the Sports City Coliseum with the C-1 squad, before the sudden change.

So, the ten bouts agreed for next Saturday, July 15, will begin at 15:25 (local time), 6:25 am (Cuba time).

It is about the headquarters of one of the most powerful franchises in the world, like ours, in the current boxing scene. Moreover, they have been the only squads able to win two consecutive crowns, since the competition emerged, a sort of intermediate step or bridge between AIBA’s amateur and professional boxing, as boxers fight five rounds of three minutes each.

Returning to the last-minute decision, we can say that although controversial, it’s worth highlighting that no solid arguments have been provided to support it, hence the Cuban Federation has stated its full disagreement.

In advance, Kazakhstan seemed an adverse scenario, not only because our boxers would face such a rigorous match in a rival venue, but also because of the fact that local fans would be against them, and the judges, although their possible margin of error has been reduced by placing three in this edition to deliver justice rather than the previous five, may become more vulnerable when deciding their verdicts.

The key of such decision lies in the fact that Kazakhstan moves more capital and contributes more dividends to AIBA’s coffers, in addition that being the venue, the show will attract more people coming from other European and Asian nations involved in the event or not, to witness the ending. Unquestionably, they are the main reasons for the change. Like in other dissimilar times, conflict of interests in which Mr Money becomes the winner.

So, our main figures must climb the ring to “kill”, with more convincing demonstrations, should they want to win their third crown. That will happen in the middle of a campaign that has not been their most dazzling one with the fists: in the preliminary stage they achieved 24 wins and 6 defeats, besides losing a match vs. Colombia’s Heroicos.

Then, in quarter-finals and semi-finals, they attained similar 7-3 balances, versus Uzbekistan’s Tigers and the squad from Colombia.In both cases, the boxers from the C-1 format bent their knees 2-3, before the C-2 redeemed them with a sweep.

A historical brushstroke of rivalry in the World Series between Domadores and Lobos shows that just the Astana Sports Palace was the first scenario where both squads faced up (December 13, 2013), during the 4th World Series, which finished with a 3-2 win for our boxers.

These two franchises, which will seek their third WSB crown, have clashed twice and the balance favors the Antilleans 12-8.

In the qualifying stage of the 4th Series in 2013-2014, the Antilleans won 8-2, and in 2015 the Eurasians defeated them 6-4 in the final of the 4th World Series.

Ahead of the third match, the major options of the squad led by Rolando Acebal are centered on Lázaro Álvarez (60kg), Andy Cruz (64kg), Roniel Iglesias (69kg), Julio César La Cruz (81kg).

We mention that the Kazakhs placed six of their men in the top 5 in the division-by-division boxing rankings, including the leaders in the 60 and 91kg, in tune with their respective performances in the qualifying stage. However, our squad placed seven men with three leaders.

Regarding the other fighters from the Antillean Island, it will be necessary to see whether Robeisy joins the squad in the 56kg division, because Javier Ibáñez finished injured at the continental world qualifier. Argilagos (49kg) has not been seen solid, and has had Colombian Yuberjen Martinez, as his black beast; Veitía must show all his arsenal, as well as Erislandy Savón (91kg), and Arlen López (75kg), if he is finally recovered and resumed his usual boxing and the path of success.

I close with super heavyweight Jose Angel Larduet, who surely will clash a rival who surpasses him in size and body weight. We will have to see how he handles these two adversities on the ring.

From my perspective, this is the toughest of all matches held between Cuba’s Domadores and Kazakhstan’s Astana Arlans. And above all, their status as visitors. We will know it on July 15, when the final gong sounds.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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