Cuba had three victories and two defeats on the first day of the Pan Am Games boxing finals on Friday July 24. The medals received could have been better, but in boxing all predictions are confirmed by the results in the ring.
Rookies Andy Cruz, Arlen Lopez and Erislandy Savon provided the happiest moments of the evening. This contrasted with the disappointment of young flyweight Joahnys Argilagos and previous Pan Am Games gold medalist light welterweight Yasnier Toledo losing their fights.
Middeweight Arlen Lopez, who did well in the World Series of Boxing, defeated Colombian Jorge Luis Vivas (3-0). Lopez previously beat Vivas to become middleweight champion at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2014.
Featherweight Andy Cruz came out on top of Dominican Hector Garcia (3-0). Cruz felt the weight of having to fill the shoes of Cuban Olympic champion boxer Robeisy Ramirez who fought at that weight. “He adjusted well to the instructions we gave him in our corner and did better as the fight progressed,” Cruz’s coach Julio Mena said.
Friday night’s third winner was Savon, who defeated Colombian Julio Deivis Blanco in a split decision (2-1). Savon’s victory came despite an injury suffered from his first bout in Toronto.
The defeats of flyweight Joahnys Argilagos and light-welterweight Yasnier Toledo were disappointments for the Cuban team.
While Argilagos was not the favourite against Mexican Joselito Velasques, Toledo was expected to outdo Canadian Arthur Biyarslanov. “Despite his quality and experience, he was unsuccessful because he got himself entangled in his opponent’s game,” said coach Ronaldo Acebal. Even still, many in the crowd thought the Toledo deserved better than the 2-1 split judges gave.
The second and last day of boxing finals on Saturday, July 25 will see five more Cuban fighters in action, each with excellent prospects for gold.
49kg: Joselito Velazquez (Mexico) defeated Joahnys Argilagos (Cuba) 3-0 (30-27, 30,27, 30-27)
56kg: Andy Cruz (Cuba) defeated Hector Garcia (Dominican Republic) 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
64kg: Arthur Biyarslanov (Canada) defeated Yasnier Toledo (Cuba)2-1 (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
75kg: Arlen Lopez (Cuba) defeated Jorge Luis Vivas (Colombia) 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
91kg: Erislandy Savon (Cuba ) defeated Deivis Julio Blanco (Colombia) 2-1 (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
52kg: Yosbany Veitia (Cuba) vs. Antonio Vargas (United States)
60kg: Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) vs. Lindolfo Delgado (Mexico)
69kg: Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) vs. Gabriel Maestre (Venezuela)
81kg: Julio Cesar La Cruz (Cuba) vs. Albert Ramirez (Venezuela)
+91kg : Leinier Peró (Cuba) vs. Edgar Muñoz (Venezuela)