Cuba re­main the pre­mier side in AIBA box­ing as they beat Kaza­khstan in WSB nals, writes John Den­nen

Boxing News - - AMATEURS -

THE long-awaited fi­nal of the World Se­ries of Box­ing took place over two legs, spread across three days and two dif­fer­ent cities in China. Ul­ti­mately in the team event the Cuba Do­madores de­feated the Kaza­khstan As­tana Ar­lans 7-3 to be­come cham­pi­ons.

Cuba and Kaza­khstan have dom­i­nated this com­pe­ti­tion, now winning it three times each. On this oc­ca­sion the Do­madores had some star names in ac­tion, al­though Olympic gold medal­list Arlen Lopez was no­table by his absence.

Rio 2016 cham­pion Julio La Cruz was in ac­tion at the Jin­jiang Zuchang Sta­dium in Jin­jiang on Fri­day (Septem­ber 28). Since his shock loss in the Chem­istry Cup there have been ques­tions for La Cruz to an­swer, but he per­formed with fa­mil­iar style against Bek Nur­ma­gan­bet. The Kazakh ap­plied the right tac­tics him­self, ad­vanc­ing on La Cruz with in­tel­li­gent pres­sure. Soon La Cruz had re­laxed. He moved from side to side, of­ten with his hands down at his waist. Nur­ma­gan­bet reached for him with hooks, but strug­gled to con­nect. La Cruz cooly brought him on to a lead left hook. The Kazakh be­gan to drive in com­bi­na­tions, slam­ming in his back­hand left. La Cruz ma­noeu­vred away. He fired a right straight to the body. Nur­ma­gan­bet struck back with a cross to the jaw but La Cruz would con­tinue to slip and slide clear.

He main­tained his form in the fifth and last round, swat­ting his back hand down, with­stand­ing an­other cross from the Kazakh and tak­ing a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion.

Roniel Igle­sias clung on to pocket the de­ci­sion against As­lan­bek Shym­bergenov. In the open­ing half of the bout the Cuban showed off the skills that saw him take Olympic gold in 2012. That left the Kazakh with one choice - to rough him up. He bun­dled Igle­sias to the can­vas, fell for­ward be­hind his cross to tie up Igle­sias. His rough­house tac­tics took their toll on the Cuban, tir­ing him as Shym­bergenov came on strongly in the fifth round. Both fin­ished cut and bleed­ing, but a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion went to Igle­sias.

An ex­cel­lent match up pit­ted Kaza­khstan’s Zakir Safi­ullin against Lazaro Al­varez. The lat­ter hit his stride, his mo­bil­ity meant Safi­ullin could not pin him down and Al­varez fired in com­bi­na­tions. The Cuban took a wide unan­i­mous de­ci­sion vic­tory.

The Ar­lans’ Saken Bi­bossi­nov scored an im­por­tant win, lev­el­ling the team score when he opened the show in Jin­jiang and beat fly­weight Jorge Gri­nan Meren­cio on a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion.

The Cubans though had the match won by the time Jose Lar­duet took the stage in the se­cond leg. But the su­per­heavy­weight made sure he fin­ished the event in style. He took the fight straight to Kamshy­bek Kunk­abayev. Lar­duet ham­mered the south­paw with hooks, winning a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion.

The Do­madores had picked up a 3-2 lead in the first leg of the fi­nal that took place at the Xi­a­men Sports School Gym­na­sium in Xi­a­men on Septem­ber 26. Qual­ity heavy­weight Eris­landy Savon se­cured the sig­nif­i­cant win to put his team ahead. He ex­erted to­tal con­trol over Nur­bol Al­tayev. It was tar­get prac­tise as he handed the Kazakh a stand­ing count on his way to unan­i­mous de­ci­sion win.

Gifted light-wel­ter Andy Cruz out­pointed Dil­mu­rat Mizhi­tov, though he de­served a wider mar­gin than a split de­ci­sion.

Light-fly­weight Temir­tas Zhus­supov se­cured a win for the Kazakh team in the first bout of the match, us­ing move­ment rem­i­nis­cent of a Cuban to bring

Damian Arce Duarte to him, fire in shots and take a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion.

Osvel David Ca­ballero Gar­cia, at 56kgs, se­cured a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion win over

Ilyas Suleimenov. Im­pos­ing 75kgs Abilkhan Amankul took a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion vic­tory over

Os­leys Igle­sias Estrada.


LEAD­ING THE WAY: Cuban lightheavy­weight Julio La Cruz shows off his style

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