World class fighters from leading boxing nations met and fought at the 3rd edition of the President's Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The event was perfect preparation for the athletes on their road to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Ten powerful nations and 80 boxers competed in the tournament which included 24 soon-to-be London Olympians.
Cuba's Yosvany Veitia and India's 20-year-old Laishram Devendro Singh both advanced to the Light Flyweight quarter-finals at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 but they failed in their quests to make it onto the podium there. In Almaty, however, they both reached the final. The Indian boxer, who had eliminated Kazakhstan's Asian Games silver medallist Birzhan Zhakipov by accepted scores in the semi-final, took home the gold medal after defeating Yosvany Veitia 15:11.
Winner of the 2012 AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event Astana on home soil, Ilyas Suleymenov continued his winning streak in the largest city in Kazakhstan. In the Flyweight gold medal contest, he was too strong for his compatriot, Kazakhstan's former National Champion Miras Zhakupov, who had defeated Cuba's Youth Olympic Games winner Robeisy Ramirez in the semi-finals.
Kazakhstan's World Series of Boxing Individual Championships winner Kanat Abutalipov came up against a strong opponent in the Bantamweight final with the local favourite battling Cuba's AIBA World Champion Lazaro Alvarez for the gold medal. Abutalipov was the one who celebrated victory after he was awrded the win with the scores tied on the judges' scorecards.
AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Yasnier Toledo from Cuba, who had a great battle with Kyrgyzstan's Syimyk Abdyldabek Ulu in the quarter-finals, defeated Kazakhstan's London Olympian Gani Zhailauov 12:8 in the Lightweight final. These two had met the last time during the semi-final stages of the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 where the virtuoso Cuban fighter had also prevailed.
The relatively unknown Kazak Aset Kasimov advanced to the Light Welterweight final where he met his compatriot and the favourite in the weight class, Almasbek Alibekov, who is the country's No.2 in this division. Kasimov's fantastic final round was enough for him to defeat his more experienced rival 10:9.
The host nation's best boxer and team captain, two-time AIBA World Champion and Asian Games winner 28-year-old Serik Sapiyev has been preparing for his second appearance at the Olympic Games where he is targeting the top of the podium. In the Welterweight final in Almaty, he was completely dominant against teammate Bakhytzhan Kozhabekov and comfortably won gold medal to remain unbeaten so far in 2012.
In the Middleweight final, Kazakhstan's AIBA World Championships quarter-finalist Danabek Suzhanov met his big local rival, former AIBA Cadet World Champion Nurdaulet Zharmanov. His younger compatriot dominated his semi-final against Cuba's newly crowned National Champion Ramon Luis but the gold medal went to Suzhanov who won their enthralling battle 12:9.
In a re-match of the Light Heavyweight final of the last AIBA World Boxing Championships, the host nation's pride Adilbek Niyazimbetov got one back over Baku's eventual winner Julio Cesar de la Cruz, Cuba's team captain. Niyazimbetov put in an electric performance in front of the home crowd to win and inflict a first defeat for de la Cruz's since February 2011.
Surprisingly Syria's Asian Games winner and Asian Champion Mohammad Ghossoun was unable to secure an Olympic quota place in Astana last month but he went some way to proving that he is still one of the best Heavyweights around. The 23-year-old Syrian eliminated Cuba's AIBA Youth World Champion Jose Angel Larduet 18:16 in the semi-finals before winning the final by beating Kazakhstan's 20-year-old rising star Arbek Abduganiyev.
Kazakhstan's AIBA World Championships bronze medallist and Asian Games silver medallist Ivan Dychko and Cuba's London Olympian Erislandy Savon were involved in a spectacular battle in the Super Heavyweight final in Almaty. The local star had to use all of his skills to triumph over his Caribbean opponent 8:6 and take the title.
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