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They say we are the best in the world

cuba boxeo olympic“The presence of the Kazakh team in our facilities was very fruitful, and enhanced the training plan we had designed for the Olympic Games. They demanded a higher level of physical conditioning of us, at just the right time.”

The words of Rolando Acebal, head coach of the Cuban national boxing team, were emphatic. The strategist described as timely the visit of the Kazakhs, one of the three strongest teams in the sport, along with Cuba and Uzbekistan.

“Our young men were very motivated by the visit. They trained hard. The sparring sessions were like real fights. It was useful, in some cases, for secondary figures on the pre-selection team to see fighters with a style they had never faced before,” Acebal reported.

The coach commented that there was no fear that the Kazakhs would decipher the secret of the success achieved by the Cubans. The two teams have held joint training camps in the past and the results of bouts between the two have been quite even in in recent years. For Acebal, there is not much more to study, only to train, with high expectations and the best rivals.

“They say that we are the best in the world, that’s why they come to train with us, even though they could go someplace else, where there are better technical conditions. The level of Kazakhstan is indisputable. The fact that they consider us the world’s number one boxers is the result of the work that has been done here over decades.”

For this visit to Havana, the Kazakhs traveled with a total of 16 fighters, four of them already classified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Saken Bibossinov (52 kg), 2019 world bronze medalist; Serik Temirzhanov (57); Ablaikhan Zhussupov (69), 2019 world bronze medalist, and Abilkhan Amankul (75), 2019 world runner-up, will be in the Japanese capital and are the most experienced figures who visited Cuba’s Holveín Quesada National Boxing School.

Four other boxers with tickets to the Olympics – Zakir Safiullin (63), Bekzad Nurdauletov (81), Vassiliy Levit (91) and Kamshybek Kunkabayev (+91 kg), are currently fighting in the United States, along with other members of the team.

“Kazakhstan works with approximately 70 boxers, to cover the annual competitive calendar. They don’t always go to the most important events with the top performers. In many cases they prefer to take the man who is in the best shape at the moment, hence, sometimes, you don’t see a world champion defending his title,” Acebal noted.

Referring to the Cuban team’s training program in coming weeks, Acebal reported that they expect to travel to Russia, if the epidemiological conditions allow. Those who remain in Havana will surely continue to prepare with maximum rigor, since the boxers who will represent the country in the pre-Olympic of the Americas have not yet been selected.

(Taken from Granma)

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