Three more fighters from Cuba booked their place in the finals of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Championships here today, ensuring that the country will have a total of six representatives going for gold medals.
Following the successes of Joahnys Argilagos, Arlen Lopez and Erislandy Savon yesterday, flyweight Yosbany Veitia was the first Cuban to compete this evening, claiming victory over China’s Jianguan Hu to set up a showdown with Azerbaijan’s Elvin Mamishzada, who beat Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi by TKO.
Reigning lightweight world champion Lazaro Alvarez was the next Cuban to take to the ring, against Uzbekistan’s up and coming Elnur Abduraimov.
Despite a promising start for the Uzbek, Alvarez had little trouble progressing to the final and now finds himself one bout away from a third world title in the space of four years.
"It is important for me to qualify for the Olympic Games, but I don’t want to focus on that right now," said Alvarez, who faces the conqueror of Brazil’s Robson Donato Conceicao, Albert Selimov of Azerbaijan, in the gold medal match.
"My focus is on winning gold here.
"I have to thank the fans though - they are amazing here in Doha, and as a team it’s important to have their backing as we compete in the ring."
Light heavyweight Julio La Cruz, who is bidding for a third consecutive World Championship gold medal, was the last Cuban to fight this evening, coming up against Russia’s hard-hitting Pavel Silyagin.
Silyagin came out swinging from his red corner, forcing La Cruz into defensive mode early on, but in the end the Cuban favourite was simply too good and will meet Ireland's Joseph Ward, a winner by unanimous decision against Uzbekistan's Elshod Rasulov, in the final.
Meanwhile in the welterweight category, defending champion Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan was up against Azerbaijan’s Parviz Baghirov, the Baku 2015 European Games gold medallist.
It was a bout that the Kazakh contingent in the stands had been nervously waiting for, but their hero did not disappoint and advanced to the final with ease, winning on unanimous decision.
Yeleussinov goes on to face Morocco’s Mohammed Rabii, whose emphatic 3-0 victory against China’s Wei Liu means he is the only Arab boxer in the finals.
The last bout of the night saw Great Britain’s only remaining fighter, veteran super heavyweight Joe Joyce, go up against the tall and charismatic 23-year-old Frenchman Tony Yoka.
The Baku 2015 European Games gold medallist had high hopes of landing the world title, but he met a brick wall in Yoka, who seemed the more agile of the pair, and won on a unanimous decision.
Number one seed Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan stands between Yoka and the gold medal after he registered a split decision win against Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov.
Tomorrow is a rest day for the boxers as they prepare to go into the World Championship finals on Wednesday (October 14) and Thursday (October 15).
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