Cuba's Panamerican supremacy


Robeisy Ramirez (CUB)

In the first of our two part recap of the Panamerican Games, we have a look at the telling performances of the men's boxers in Guadalajara. The next instalment will focus on the women and how they made history in Mexico.

Following a string of terrific performances by their squad at the 16th edition of the Panamerican Games, the Cuban team regained the top continental spot with their boxers fighting a total of 31 bouts in Guadalajara with 30 of those victories. This incredible performance ensured the best ever medal hauls by a single nation in the history of the Games.

Cuba saw gold medals go to Robeisy Ramirez, Yasnier Toledo, Carlos Banteur, Julio de la Cruz, Lazaro Alvarez, Roniel Iglesias, Emilio Correa and Eunice Pero with silver for Yosvany Veitia.

The host nation, Mexico, secured second place in the team rankings with their athletes achieving a total of nine medals including a gold won by their youngest boxer, 18-year-old Light Flyweight Joselito Velasquez. Their top boxer, former AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Oscar Valdez claimed a silver medal after being defeated by current AIBA World Champion Lazaro Alvarez following a pulsating Bantamweight final.

The rising power in boxing, Brazil, finished fourth overall in the team rankings and third amongst the male competitors despite none of their athletes claiming gold but securing six medals in Guadalajara. Unexpectedly their reigning AIBA World Champion, Light Welterweight national hero Everton Lopes, missed out on the final and took bronze as a result. Beijing Olympian Robson Conceicao was in top form during the Games but was denied the Lightweight gold medal by the sensational Cuban Yasnier Toledo.

The team captain of the Ecuadorian squad, Carlos Gongora, quarter-finalist at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, won a Light Heavyweight bronze but it was his compatriot and his team's youngest member, Italo Perea who won the country's gold. Perea, Ecuador's top Super Heavyweight achieved this success at only 18 years of age so we country can now expect great things of this prospect.

The talented young boxers from the Dominican Republic secured qualification places in each the men's weight classes at the Panamerican Games and after several unexpected losses in the Mexican city, the country's big hope, 18-year-old World Combat Games silver medallist Dagoberto Aguero won a silver medal.  Aguero was immense throughout the competition but came up against the Cuban sensation Robeisy Ramirez in the Flyweight final.

Venezuelan boxers claimed three bronze medals in the men's event in Guadalajara. South American Games winner Angel Rodriguez and 17-year-old Yoelvis Hernandez will be major forces in the forthcoming major events.

Central American and Caribbean Games winner, 23-year-old Valentino Knowles was the only representative from the Bahamas that qualified for the Games in Guadalajara but he put in some excellent performances on way to securing a most valuable silver medal in the Light Welterweight category, a result unequalled in Bahamas' boxing history.

The youngest participant of the whole boxing tournament, 17-year-old Jantony Ortiz of Puerto Rico achieved a bronze medal in Guadalajara and must now be favourite for the Light Flyweight title at the 2012 AIBA Youth World Championships. Six out of the forty male medallists can still compete at youth level so the continent's boxing future looks very bright indeed.

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