The 2021 Cuban Boxing Team Aiming For Olympic Gold
In boxing, at the professional level fans love to debate which country in certain divisions are dominating. Depending on who you ask, the answers will often vary. However, at the amateur level, the Cuban school of boxing has been dominant, hands down. Going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the Cuban boxing team is on track to run the tables yet again on the path to the Gold Medals.
For decades the vaunted Cuban school of boxing has reigned over the amateur ranks. It is often almost guaranteed that Cuban fighters will win any tournament, whether it is the Summer games like Pan American games, Central American and Caribbean Games, and the World championships.
The Olympic games are the world stage for all sports from around the globe. It is also where the Cuban school is on full display, and winning a gold medal for Cuban fighters is the equivalency of winning a world championship on the professional level.
The Cuban fighters go through an incredible gauntlet by competing in the Cuban National Championship tournament. All the top fighters from every weight class fight against each other to make sure only the best represents the country on the amateur world stage.
RONIEL IGLESIAS SOTOLONGO
Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo is a 32-year-old veteran of the team from Pintar del Rio. He has a record of 268- 36, winning six gold medals, two silver medals, and one Bronze. Iglesias was buzzing on social media for defeating Delante “Tiger” Johnson. However, he also defeated Johnson in 2019 as a welterweight in the Pan American Games in Lima. Iglesias holds victories over current professional rising prospects Everton Lopes, Commonwealth welterweight champion Ekow Essuman, and top-rated WBO International lightweight Denys Berinchyk.
Yosvany Veitia is a highly decorated fighter at flyweight and light flyweight. He has a record of 147-20 while capturing two gold, four silver, and two bronze medals. What is more impressive is he holds two victories over unified bantamweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue, who is also ranked number three on the 3kingsboxing top 10 fighters list. Veitia will face Galal Yafai, the younger brother of Kal and Gamal Yafai, in the Quarterfinals.
Arlen Lopez has an impressive amateur record of 126-17 and has won six gold medals, one silver medal at both featherweight and middleweight. He dominated the summer games and captured gold in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics. Equally important, Lopez holds victories over professional fighters IBF #11 ranked Troy Williamson, Troy Isley, and Bektemir Melikuziev.
JULIO CESAR LA CRUZ
Julio Cesar La Cruz is probably the most accomplished fighter on the team. He has ten gold medals under his belt and a record of 216-18. Cruz has dominated all of the Summer game tournaments as a light heavyweight and took gold in the 2016 Olympic games. Cruz is competing as a heavyweight in the Tokyo Olympics. Moreover, he holds wins over professional fighters WBC and IBF ranked Carlos Gongora, Egor Mekhontsev, and fellow Cuban amateur rival David Morrell.
Andy Cruz is so good, some have dubbed him the Floyd Mayweather Jr of amateur boxing. Although his run in the amateur system is considered short by Cuban standards, his accomplishments are noteworthy with a record of 109-8, undefeated in the World Series of Boxing, and four gold medals. He holds victories over professional fighters Elvis Rodriguez, Omar Rosario, Sean McComb, and amateur rival Keyshawn Davis. Cruz has advanced to the lightweight quarter finals and is the favorite to win the Gold medal, but a fourth potential showdown with Davis has fans excited to watch.
By: Garrisson Bland
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