Robeisy Ramírez’s success in the second last qualifying tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan, has ensured that Cuba can send a full men’s boxing team to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Ramírez, Olympic champion in London 2012 in the 52 kg division, qualified this time around in the 56 kg division, having failed to do so as expected last March in a tournament in Argentina for Latin American and Caribbean boxers.
The also twice Pan-American champion remained undefeated until the semi-finals, and although he eventually lost to the Ukrainian fighter Mykola Butsenko – a bronze medalist in the Baku 2013 World Championship – he reached his goal of Olympic qualification.
His success is represents a major achievement as Cuba had not qualified in every weight division for the last two Olympic Games, since the qualification process commenced.
Ramírez will now join team mates Johannys Argilagos (49 kg), Yobany Veitía (52 kg), Lázaro Álvarez (60 kg), Yasniel Toledo (64 kg), Roniel Iglesias (69 kg), Arlen López (75 kg), Julio César La Cruz (81 kg),Erislandy Savón (91 kg), and Lenier Peró (over 91 kg).
Cuba is the only Latin American country to date with a full contingent of 10 boxers qualified, something only equaled by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Great Britain and Uzbekistan.
Other boxers from the region, such as Haitian Richardson Hitchins (64 kg) and Panamanian female boxer Atheyna Bylon (75 kg) –who was granted a wildcard by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Tripartite Commission – have also qualified for the Rio Olympics.
Hitchins was one of the sensations of this pre-Olympic tournament. He defeated renowned opponents and was only beaten by the well-known British boxer, Pat McCormack.
Ecuadorian Julio César Castillo (91 kg) narrowly missed qualification when he was defeated in the final by Igor Pawel Jakubowski of Poland, in a division in which only one ticket was on offer.
Mexican Joselito Velázquez also failed to qualify when he lost in the 49 kg semi-final to host boxer Rufat Huseynov. This division only had two Olympic qualifying places.
Other fighters from the region like Colombian Ceiber Ávila (52 kg); Dominicans Elvis Rodríguez (60 kg) and Raúl Sánchez (75 kg); Guatemalan Juan Reyes (56 kg), and Trinitarian Aaron Prince (69 kg) were defeated at the quarter final stage.
Their opponents did not go on to be crowned and were unable to benefit from a fifth quota granted in such divisions.
A total of 42 Latin American boxers have qualified in boxing for the Rio Olympics.
Eight are from Brazil, but only Robson Conceicao (60 kg) and Juan Nogueira (90 kg) won their right to participate in the ring.
The rest, in both genders, qualified as a result of being from the host country.Share on FB Share on TT