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News > Latin America

Cuban Boxers Advance in Olympics

  • Cuban boxer Lazaro Alvarez. Tokyo, Japan, July 28, 2021.

    Cuban boxer Lazaro Alvarez. Tokyo, Japan, July 28, 2021. | Photo: Radio Rebelde

Published 28 July 2021

Two Cuban boxers have taken big steps towards the coveted podium in their respective divisions at the Tokyo games.

Lazaro Alvarez debuted in the 2020 Olympic Games by defeating Iran’s Daniyal Shahbakhsh by technical knock-out (TKO) on Wednesday, before Arlen Lopez won by unanimous decision against Mohammed Houmri of Algeria.


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Competing in the featherweight division (57kg), Alvarez won the first round of the bout by a score of 50-45. In the second however the Cuban managed to land a number of punches causing the referee to intervene as a result of Shahbakhsh’s injuries.

Alvarez isn’t new to the Olympic stage, having won bronze at London 2012 and against in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He will face Thailand’s Chatchai-Decha Butdee in the Quarter-Finals.

Competing later on Wednesday, Arlen López added to Cuba's pugilistic triumphs in the light heavyweight division. The judges unanimously ruled in López's favor, the scorecards reading 10-9, 10-8, and 10-8 (30-25 in total). 

Lopez – who has changed division after winning the gold in the middleweight event at Rio de Janeiro 2016 – will face Mexican Rogelio Romero in the Quarter-finals.
These victories are added to those of boxers Roniel Iglesias and Julio César de la Cruz on Tuesday in the men's welterweight and heavywight divisions respectively.
Despite the blockade imposed on Cuba by the U.S., the Caribbean island nation has achieved a total of 226 Olympic medals, 96 percent of those since the revolution. The 78 gold, 68 silver, and 80 bronze medals won by Cubans at the games make the country the best-performing Spanish speaking country in Olympic history.
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