The Independence Cup is a prestigious international tournament of the Dominican Republic Boxing Federation, which opens the boxing year in the American continent.
Athlete of the tournament
Dominican Republic’s rising star Leonel De Los Santos was a silver medallist at the 2013 AMBC American Continental Championships in Santiago de Chile when he was only 19, while he claimed the gold in the last edition of the Central American & Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico some months ago.
The host nation’s pride eliminated Mexico’s Youth National Olympiad winner 19-year-old Jose Alejandro Burgos in the semi-final, and advanced to the final of the Independence Cup.
His final opponent was his compatriot and National Champion Mario Lavegar Cepeda.
De Los Santos started their contest better, and controlled the second frame as well, which led to a more defensive tactic in the final round.
His excellent fighting style won him the gold medal, which is excellent preparation for the Panamerican Games in July.
Team of the tournament
The host nation of the Independence Cup, the Dominican Republic won one women’s and seven men’s weight classes in Santiago de los Caballeros.
AMBC American Women’s Continental Champion Yenebier Guillen won the Women’s Middleweight class (75 kg) where she was the top favourite for the title on home soil.
Young Elvis Severino, strong Kermin Rafael Jimenez and Central American & Caribbean Games bronze medallist Raul Sanchez all won their weight classes, while their WSB boxer and AMBC American Youth Continental Champion Carlos Adames moved up to the Welterweight class (69 kg) where he eliminated Bahamas’ Godfrey Strachan in the semi-finals and Chile’s Daniel Munoz in the gold medal bout.
Surprise of the tournament
Dominican Republic’s strong Bantamweight class (56 kg) boxer Hector Luis Garcia was a silver medallist at the Central American & Caribbean Games, but was not able to win the category in the Independence Cup.
The young boxer was defeated by defending National Champion Alexi Miguel De La Cruz which was the biggest surprise of the whole competition.
Garcia will have to improve his efforts in the upcoming months if he wants to keep his place in the national team of the Dominican Republic.
Ones to watch
Dominican Republic’s Gerardo Valdez and Brazil’s AMBC American Continental Champion Juliao Henriques Neto were the finalists of the Flyweight class (52 kg) and their battle should have been one of the highlights of the last competition day, but due to an injury for Valdez, Neto walked over for the gold.
The Brazilian veteran turns 34 this year, but he has been preparing with full speed for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Mexico’s AMBC American Women’s Continental Champion Victoria Torres is one of the new stars of the Women’s Lightweight class (60 kg) in the American continent, and the talented boxer met with Dominican Republic’s Central American & Caribbean Games silver medallist young hope Mirquin Jahaziel Sena in the gold medal bout.
The final was a spectacular show of boxing, and though Torres won, both women showed their skills ahead of a very important year.
Stat/fact of the tournament
The Brazilian team has been preparing for their home Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and three of their experienced boxers won their weight classes in the Independence Cup.
Chile claimed two silver medals in Santiago de los Caballeros, while among the developing boxing nations of the region, Honduras and Bahamas both secured medals in the event.
List of the winners in Santiago de los Caballeros
Women’s 51 kg: Grazieli Souza, Brazil
Women’s 60 kg: Victoria Torres, Mexico
Women’s 75 kg: Yenebier Guillen, Dominican Republic
Men’s 49 kg: Leonel De Los Santos, Dominican Republic
Men’s 52 kg: Juliao Henriques Neto, Brazil
Men’s 56 kg: Alexi Miguel De La Cruz, Dominican Republic
Men’s 60 kg: Elvis Severino, Dominican Republic
Men’s 64 kg: Kermin Rafael Jimenez, Dominican Republic
Men’s 69 kg: Carlos Adames, Dominican Republic
Men’s 75 kg: Raul Sanchez, Dominican Republic
Men’s 81 kg: Carlos Rodriguez, Mexico
Men’s 91 kg: Juan Nogueira, Brazil
Men’s +91 kg: Abigail Nilson Perez, Dominican Republic