The 42nd Annual Giraldo Cordova Cardin International Boxing Tournament, which is currently being held in the Cuban capital, will see ten titleholders looking to defend their thrones with a high number of participating athletes all using the event as active preparation for the upcoming London 2012 Olympic Games.
One of the world's leading boxing nations, Cuba will have three full squads taking part in this exciting tournament on home soil, which has also got a great tradition. Eight gifted Cuban fighters ensured they would be carrying their nation's hopes at the Olympic Games this summer and all of those travelling to London were more than keen to use their local international tournament in preparation for this summer's big show which begins 27 July.
Bantamweight AIBA World Champion Lazaro Alvarez suffered some unexpected losses this year but despite these results, he is still one of the top favourite in the division. Former AIBA World Champion Roniel Iglesias who qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games by winning last month's AIBA American Olympic Qualifying in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will now be fully of confidence coming into his home tournament where he will look to showcase his vast array of skills. Cuban team captain and Panamerican Games winner Julio Cesar de la Cruz is the defending Light Heavyweight AIBA World Champion but after an underwhelming year so far, he will have a point to prove at the Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament.
Youth Olympic Games winner, 20-year-old Leinier Perot, secured only silver at the Cuban Olympic Trials so it was his teammate Jose Angel Larduet who went on to book his place for London 2012. The young Cuban Heavyweight will be the gold medal contender in this tournament while his teammate, the current National Champion, 19-year-old Norlan Yera will also look to challenge in Havana.
The American continent's other traditional boxing nation, the United States, will have also sent a full strength team to the event, which includes eight London Olympians, with only former AIBA World Champion Rau'shee Warren missing from the party. The heroes of the Olympic Qualifier in Rio will all be seeking to gain valuable international experience as we approach London 2012.
Kazakhstan, who has always been a distinguished guest at the tournament, will be taking part in the competition with two different teams, involving talented young fighters from both Astana and Almaty. Their squads contain mostly boxers under the age of 21 who will be vying for places in the national team for the next Olympic era. Top Heavyweight boxer Arbek Abduganiyev is one to watch and is regarded by many as being close to world class level.
The Colombians will be competing with three London Olympians, with amongst them Jeison Antoni Monroy who qualified through the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 Venezuela is actively building for the future team and travel for experience. Three Tunisian boxers qualified for the London Olympics but they have also sent some of their emerging talents as well. Cameroon has also sent its qualified boxers to the Cuban event where great battles are expected to take place between present and the future stars.
With the Finals scheduled for 7 June, expect the competition to be fierce.
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