Boxing Cuba defeats France in friendly bout ahead Paris 2024

Boxing Cuba defeats France in friendly bout ahead Paris 2024

Joseph Ward of Ireland, in red, fights with Julio La Cruz of Cuba during their Light Heavy weight final of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha, Qatar, Thurs, Oct. 2015

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Osama Faisal/AP


The Cuban boxing team defeated their French opponents in all eight bouts, gaining “mental strength” and “preparation” in a friendly bout on the road to the qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

All winners were by 5-0 unanimous decision.

“The French team won, mentally they won,” Dominique Nato, president of the French boxing federation, told to SNTV, who is very clear that the goal is preparation. “We came here to look for mental, technical and tactical strength” he added.

“Both teams worked, one won and the other lost but neither lost because we came here to prepare.” Said Luis Mariano Gonzalez, coach of the island’s boxing team since 2007.

The string of victories was led by Olympic champions Julio Cesar La Cruz (92 kg) and Arlen Lopez (80 kg), against Soheb Bouafia and Cesar Yojerlin respectively, in the friendly match held Friday night at the Varadero resort.

“Today we fought in Cuba, they (the Cuban team) were in front of their public and that gave them a lot of strength, said to SNTV the twice French champion Soheb Bouafia (92kg). “When we are in France we will be with our French public and so we can win,” he said.

Sofiane Oumiha (63.5 kg), two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time World Champion, was a last-minute withdrawal from the line-up because he was not feeling well, and was replaced by twice national champion Hugo Robert Grau.

Cuba’s economic crisis and the migration of athletes has hit boxing hard , a sport that historically filled the medal table of the island in Olympic events and other international competitions.

The Caribbean country has accumulated 41 Olympic titles since the first gold medal won in this sport by Téofilo Stevenson in Munich 1972.

“To have fought with the French team, almost all of them already qualified for the Olympic Games, and to have beaten them here, apart from fighting in our home ground , it is a good sign for us.” La Cruz said.

The last Olympic qualifying tournament will be held in Thailand from May 25 to June 3.

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