Cuba’s Julio César La Cruz will have the opportunity tomorrow to make it four consecutive light heavyweight titles at International Boxing Association World Championships after coming through his semi-final against Ecuador’s Carlos Mina Caicedo this evening.
The reigning Olympic champion proved too strong for his opponent in a hotly-contested bout, claiming a unanimous points win.
Awaiting him in the final is Ireland’s Joseph Ward, who he beat in the 2015 final in Qatar’s capital Doha and 2013 semi-finals in Kazakh city Almaty.
Three-time European champion Ward gave himself the chance to make it third time lucky with a narrow 3-2 victory over Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev.
Another Cuban on the brink of extending a prolonged run of success at World Championships is Lázaro Álvarez Estrada, who held off the challenge of energetic Georgian Otar Eranosyan to reach the lightweight final with a 5-0 triumph.
Álvarez Estrada is aiming for a third consecutive world title at lightweight and fourth in all having topped the bantamweight podium in 2011.
Standing between him and achieving that feat is Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Sofiane Oumiha of France.
Oumiha overcame Mongolia’s Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu 5-0 to secure his place in the final.
There was also success for Cuba today in the flyweight and welterweight divisions as Yosbany Veitia and Roniel Iglesias progressed to the respective finals.
Veitia, who is looking to go one better than his silver medal-winning performance at the 2015 World Championships, edged Russia’s Tamir Galanov 3-2.
His opponent in the final will be Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov after he brought an end to the impressive campaign of South Korea’s Kim Inkyu.
Iglesias, meanwhile, defeated home favourite Abass Baraou to set up a final with Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov, a 4-1 victor over Kazakhstan’s Ablaikhan Zhussupov.
In all, Cuba will be represented in seven finals tomorrow with light flyweight Joahnys Argilagos, light welterweight Andy Cruz Gomez and heavyweight Erislandy Savón all advancing last night.
Rounding out this evening’s action were the super heavyweight semi-finals, which were won by Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev and Azerbaijan’s Mahammadrasul Majidov at the expense of Cameroon’s Fokou Arsene and Australia’s Joseph Goodall respectively.
Kunkabayev triumped 5-0, while two-time world champion Majidov prevailed 4-1.