The next important date on the Cuban boxing calendar is the Bulgaria tournament in Sofia from May 13 to 22, where London-2012 gold medalist, Robeisy Ramírez, will fight to ensure he completes the Island’s Rio-2016 team.

Presently boxing in the 56kg weight division, he was unable to qualify in his mid-March pre-Olympic bout in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The next important date on the Cuban boxing calendar is the Bulgaria tournament in Sofia from May 13 to 22, where London-2012 gold medalist, Robeisy Ramírez, will fight to ensure he completes the Island’s Rio-2016 team.He was beaten there by home boy Alberto Melián, who he almost knocked out in the first round but to whom he had later lost the fight having become involved in an entanglement.

The 52kg summer games headliner has had an unstable run of four fights, resulting in the loss of his position as Cuba’s number one, first due to eye surgery and later due to missing training.

Ramirez, who is also the Central American and Caribbean Veracruz-2014 Games champion, confirmed in an interview with The Havana Reporter that he is fully focused on winning his ticket to Rio-2016.

He said, “I have been training intensely both prior to and after the defeat in Buenos Aires.

I worked much harder during the days that followed the defeat and with a greater desire to get things right. I have two more chances and feel confident that I will get to Rio. I am more motivated to prepare myself for this year’s Olympics”.

The boxer said that being the man to beat was a double-edged sword because it meant opponents both respected him and fought their very best against him, adding with certainty, “it brings more responsibility and intensity which is why I am giving my all in training”.

The fighter, born in the central province of Cienfuegos will compete in the Sofia qualifiers, which will bring together the best from the World Series Boxing (WSB) and the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) to fight for the 32 places on offer: three in each of the 49kg to 81kg divisions and one in the 91kg and over 91 kg divisions.

Nine out of ten of Cuba’s men have secured their places for Rio-2016.

Brazil is the only country in the Pan-American region that comes close, but only two of their boxers have come through on merit, with a further six qualifying places (one woman, five men) being given to them because of their host status.

Oddly enough, through the conquest of Andy Cruz in last year’s WSB, Cuba had secured its passport to Rio in this weight division but Cruz grew after his 20th birthday and could not make the requisite 56kg weight.

Because in boxing, qualification is done on a named basis, Cuba has to surrender its place if Cruz himself is unable to fight and present another contender to win it back.

Should Ramirez fail to qualify again in Sofia, his last chance to do so will be in Kazakhstan’s City of Marvels from June 7 to 19, where 39 tickets are on offer: two in the 49kg division, five in the divisions between 52kg and 81kg and one in the 91kg and above division.

That will complete the direct qualification of all 240 boxers plus 5 – who according to Buenos Aires will compete in the 49, 52, 56, 64 y 81kg divisions -- and a further 5 wild cards from other countries (from 56 to 75kg), bringing the number of men to 250.

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