Cuba's AIBA World Championships silver medallist and Panamerican Games winner Yasnier Toledo showed world class form in the Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament in Havana where he shocked Kazakhstan's talented Abylai Khusainov. The Cuban Lightweight No.1 won his contest by an incredible 31:2 and will now meet his teammate, National Champion Ivan Onate in the semi-finals.
Current Cuban National Youth Champion 19-year-old Pablo Vicente competed at the 2010 Panamerican Elite Championships in Quito in the Light Flyweight class but since then moved up to Bantamweight division. The Cuban teenager made a successful debut in Havana where he was too strong for Sweden's European Championships silver medallist and London Olympian Salomo N'Tuve.
Jordan's National Youth Champion 17-year-old Obada Al-Kasbeh was a reserve boxer at the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event and was also selected in his national elite squad. The Jordanian teenager made an incredible start in Havana where he caused a huge surprise by beating Tunisia's top fighter, African Youth Champion Bilel M'Hamdi by close 19:16.
AIBA Youth World Championships silver medallist 20-year-old Norlan Yera from Cuba won the last Playa Giron, which is the traditional Cuban National Championships. The host nation's new pride also advanced to the semi-finals after beating Kazakhstan's newcomer Bagdat Alimbekov by large margin of points. Yera's footwork was world class in that contest and he will be looking to make a big impact in the next Olympic era.
Tunisia's All Africa Games winner Ahmed Mejri, who is the actual Arab Champion, continued his winning series in Havana as well. The North African Lightweight No.1 stopped Argentina's Sebastian Aguirre and will now meet in the semi-final Kazakhstan's powerful Askhat Zhenisbekov, who eliminated Colombia's London Olympian Edward Marriaga in the last eight.
Another Cuban, Adrian Lescay, who was bronze medallist at the last edition of the tournament, is close to securing his place in the national squad, and went a step towards realising that goal in Havana. Lescay started well in his quarter-final contest with Cuba's young hope Osmay Bencosme and finally defeated his younger rival 31:15.
Cuba's Grand Prix Usti nad Labem winner veteran Arisnoide Despaigne replaced Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist Carlos Banteur. The 30-year-old welterweight boxer were crowned in various international tournaments but failed to reach the Olympic quota in Rio de Janeiro last month. Despaigne eliminated Tunisia's Aymen Mejri in the first preliminary round and following that opening victory he was also too strong for Kazakhstan's Astana-based Madiyar Ashkeyev.
As everybody predicted in the competition hall, Cuba's team captain and current AIBA World Champion Julio Cesar de la Cruz did not give too many chance to Kazakhstan's 20-year-old Nursultan Kozhabekov who had great results in junior and youth level previously. The referee stopped their unequal contest in the last round of their fight.
Jordan's national hero Ihab Darweish Al-Matbouli repeated the same performance in Havana as he did at the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Astana where he secured the Arabic country's first ever Olympic quota in boxing. He stopped Kazakhstan's 19-year-old Yerassyl Seyfoldanov before the final gong and will now meet for the final Cuba's Yaikel Kindelan who eliminated Colombia's first London Olympian Jeison Antoni Monroy.
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