Cuban Wrestlers in Los Angeles Appearance for Freestyle World Cup
Cuban wrestlers left Havana for Los Angeles on Thursday to participate in the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup to take place in a Forum in Los Angeles, California, from April 11-12.
The event includes three Olympic champions, Jordan Burroughs of the USA at 74 kg, Jake Varner of the USA at 97 kg and Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan at 70 kg.
There are five World champions in the event as well, including two-time World champions Burroughs and Reza Yazdani of Iran at 97 kg. One-time World champions include Alexei Shemarov of Belarus at 125 kg, Hassan Rahimi of Iran at 57 kg and Haji Aliev of Azerbaijan at 65 kg.
There are dozens of other medalists in the event on the continental and age-group levels.
Of the teams entered in the 2015 Freestyle World Cup, the United States has won 13 team titles, with Russia winning six, Iran claiming five and Cuba winning two. A resurgent Cuban team will return to the Freestyle World Cup as the only Latin American team in the tournament. It is a rare appearance for a Cuban national team of any kind in Los Angeles.
Cuba climbed to fifth in the team standings at the 2014 United World Wrestling World Championships, winning four medals in the freestyle competition: silver medalist Reineris Salas (86 kg/189 lbs.), and bronze medal winners Yowlys Bonne (61 kg/134 lbs.), Livan Lopez (74 kg/163 lbs.) and Javier Cortina (97 kg/213 lbs.). All are expected to compete again in Los Angeles.
In 12 total World Cup appearances in the U.S., the Cuban team has finished third six times.
The Cuban squad will face the United States, one of the tournament favorites, in the first match of the World Cup at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 11.
Cuba will then wrestle Mongolia on Saturday evening and will tangle with World Championship team winners Russia (second in last year's World Cup) on Sunday, April 12.
The winner of Group A - Cuba, Mongolia, Russia and the U.S. - will face the Group B winner (possibly Iran) for the World Cup title on Sunday afternoon.
The nation with the most World Cup titles is the former Soviet Union with 15 titles. The World Cup has been held annually since 1973, when it was founded in Toledo, Ohio.
There will be two sessions of wrestling action each day of the Freestyle World Cup.
All Ready for Cuba-Mexico Meet in World Boxing Series
Season IV Champions Cuba have won all of their eleven fixtures in this campaign, while the Mexican Franchise are on a six match winning streak. While there is plenty of team glory to be had, there is also individual success ahead for many fighters appearing, as this is the penultimate match for these weight classes in the Regular Season. With Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification in sight for those competing in this fixture, the concentration levels and hard work will be at an all time high.
Ciudad Deportiva Sports Center in Havana is the venue for this Group A clash, where on Friday fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand from 20:30 (GMT -4) at AIBABoxingTV.com.
Cuba’s Yosbany Veitia is the number one ranked Flyweight (52 kg) in WSB, and will qualify for Rio 2016 if he defeats Mexico’s fourth ranked Orlando Huitzil Ahuatl. Veitia is 5-0 this season, and is six points ahead of Puerto Rico’s Jeyvier Cintrón Ocasio who is his nearest rival. The Cuban is also eight points ahead of third ranked Brent Venegas III, and his Mexican opponent, which means if he succeeds here then nobody will be able to catch him in the last match of the Regular Season.
Mexico’s exciting star knows that if he loses then his Olympic dreams are all but over, so the opening match of the night is one of the most important of the entire WSB weekend.
Cuban Lightweight (60 kg) Lazaro Alvarez sits second in his weight class rankings three points behind Albert Selimov, but crucially four points ahead of Algeria’s Reda Benbaziz. A victory for Alvarez against Mexico’s William Zepeda Segura will ensure that his destiny remains in his own hands ahead of the last match of the Regular Season.
Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo is a current Olympic Games gold medalist, but the Welterweight (69 kg) has lost his last two WSB matches. The Cuban fighter faces another tough contest this week with Mexican contender Héctor Andrés Reyes Anguiano.
Julio Cesar La Cruz has been one of the most dominant boxers in Season V of WSB, and he is on course to qualify for Rio 2016 through WSB. Ranked joint-first at Light heavyweight (81 kg) after five straight victories, La Cruz is level on points with Italian Valentino Manfredonia. He will meet one of his toughest opponents of the season in Havana, as Ecuador’s Carlos Mina takes to the ring.
The last fight of the evening is at Super heavyweight (91+ kg) where third ranked Lenier Eunice Pero battles Mexican Edgar Ramirez. Although Eunice Pero is unlikely to reach Rio 2016 via WSB due to only one Super heavyweight quota and the imposing form of Filip Hrgovic and Joseph Joyce, the Cuban must win to maintain any hopes of qualifying, and to help his Franchise defeat the mercurial Mexican team.
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