Five Boxers to Follow in Toronto
Five Boxers to Follow in Toronto
The boxing tournament within the framework of Toronto Pan-American Games is going to gather the best amateur fighters of the continent. 120 pugilists, from 24 countries, are going to fight at Oshawa Sports Centre’s ring in ten divisions for men and three for women.
The eyes will be focused on Cuban pugilists, who are favorites to hold the continental supremacy they have championed over the past four decades. Cuba will send its main athletes to Toronto, a list that includes Olympic and world champions; but Cuban boxers won’t be the only ones attracting attention at the Canadian city. Panamerican World proposes an approach to five outstanding figures to participate in this edition of the Games.
Joselito Velazquez (Mexico)
Four years ago, Cuban pugilists played the leading role in Guadalajara Pan-American Games. The Caribbean boxers prevailed in 8 out of the 10 divisions. They only suffered two defeats, one of which was caused by experienced Mexican fighter Joselito Velazquez.
In the 49 kilogram division, Velazquez wasn’t described as the favorite in the fight for the title against Cuban Yosvani Veitia; nevertheless, the Mexican boxer delivered the best punches and won the fight 20 - 12. Veitia will go for the rematch in Toronto. You’ll if he can make it. For two consecutive seasons, Velazquez was a member of Mexico’s Warriors franchise, which participated in the World Boxing Series. Velazquez’s dream, before going professional, is to qualify to Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, in 2016.
Julio Cesar Castillo (Ecuador)
In the 91 kilogram division, the only fighter in the region that can stand in the way of Cuban Erislandy Savon is Ecuadorian Julio Cesar Castillo, 26 years old, Pan-American number 2 in Guadalajara, with experience in the World Boxing Series.
In 2011, Castillo fought the Pan-American final against Cuban Leinier Pero, who is going to box in +91 kg in Toronto, and he lost that combat, 16 - 10. Castillo attended the fifth edition of the World Boxing Series with Mexico’s Warriors and he qualified to the Pan-American Games; but in Toronto this boxer won’t be able to stand for the Ecuadorian flag.
The fact is that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) suspended the Ecuadorian Federation due to the alleged intervention of the Government in the process. It represents a violation to the international statutes of this sport and the Olympic Charter. So, the AIBA is going to allow Ecuadorian pugilists, such as Castillo, to compete in the Pan-American Games with the organization’s flag.
Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba)
Most of the Cuban boxers that are going to fight in Toronto are considered favorites to win in their division; but in some cases they might find some rivals that could stand between the Caribbean fighters and the gold. In the 60 kg division, 24-year-old Lazaro Alvarez doesn’t seem to have any opponent with the power to stop him. Alvarez is a magnificent fighter, twice world champion, in 2011 and 2013, and bronze medalist in London Olympic Games, 2012.
In Guadalajara Pan-American Games, in 2011, Alvarez was competing in the 56 kilogram division and he prevailed over Mexican Oscar Rafael Valdes, 19 - 15; nonetheless, in Toronto the difference could be higher because in four years the Cuban boxer has grown as a fighter and improved his style, thus mastering the art of punching without taking hits.
Julio Cesar la Cruz (Cuba)
He is 25 years old and after a chaotic 2014, when he was even shot as he was leaving a party, La Cruz has become stable and his particular and polemic fighting style —always with his guard down— has helped him be labeled as the most complete pugilist of the world in the 81 kilogram division.
La Cruz is a twice world champion, 2011 – 2013, and he also won the title in Guadalajara Pan-American Games, where he defeated Brazilian Yamaguchi Florentino in the final combat, 22 - 12. Although he is a strong pugilist, his punches are not his main advantage, but his constant moves that make his rivals look bad. Perhaps it’s not the most spectacular style, but it works for the Cuban boxer.
Erislandy Savon (Cuba)
This boxer is ranked among the best pugilists of the world, without taking divisions into account. In the amateur universe, nobody hits harder than Savon, who is the nephew of Felix Savon, the most prize-winning pugilist of all times.
Erislandy is 23 years old. He is in great shape and is an experienced fighter. He didn’t attend Guadalajara Pan-American Games or win a medal in London; however, over the past two years he has strengthened his reputation by delivering punches and KO to rivals during the World Boxing Series, with 18 victories.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on Savon’s fights in Toronto. Everybody will know when the round begins, but not many of his rivals will listen to the last ring of the bell.