Returning champion Iglesias wins 2nd boxing gold for Cuba
TOKYO (AP) – Roniel Iglesias just seemed to be fighting at a higher level than his opponents.
Until his one-sided gold medal victory over British star Pat McCormack, Iglesias moved and made his way through Tokyo with a grace that everyone else in his division could not help but to aspire.
A stellar Olympic performance by a classic Cuban boxer ended in the usual way Tuesday night in Tokyo: with a gold medal around the neck of a nation fighter who has practically perfected amateur boxing.
Iglesias won his second Olympic gold and third overall in Tokyo, adding it to his Beijing bronze in 2008 and his London championship in 2012, both in light welterweights. He lost in the welterweight quarterfinals to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and went on to experience significant injury issues, but Iglesias said his focus never faltered.
“I have so many feelings and emotions after I first won the gold medal in London, but then I had a lot of difficulty,” Iglesias said through a performer. “Boxing is a very difficult sport, but I was able to overcome these difficulties and I was able to win this title, which is so important to me. I think my discipline, my tenacity in training helped me get here.
Eleven days before his 33rd birthday, the fighter with superb technique and tenacity became the seventh boxer in Olympic history to win gold in two weight classes.
Iglesias even joined Félix Savón, Teófilo Stevenson and Lázaro Álvarez – who won his third bronze medal earlier in the evening – as the only triple boxing medalist in Cuban history to be decorated.
After spending half his life as a top fighter in Cuba’s tough system, and having endured significant doubts from fans at home after missing a medal in Rio, Iglesias was in the mood. to declare that his case was one of the best in Cuba.
“It puts me directly in the highest ranking, in the highest order,” he said. “I think that speaks for itself and shows how much I love the sport. … Those who always doubted that I could reach the Olympic summit, it was an extra push on my part to get up every morning and give it the extra effort and achieve this result.
One thing about the Cuban team has changed in the last two Olympics: its boxers are now allowed to speak at length with Western reporters, and they have always been charming and caring.
Fears of defection or corruption have prompted the Cuban team to keep tight control over their Olympic boxers for decades, but the current coaching staff are more interested in making sure the world knows the talents of their fighters.
Iglesias polish and style evoked memories of his country’s rich history, and Iglesias clearly cherishes his place in these annals. He certainly does not appear to be a candidate to head to the United States for a professional career. He confirmed he intends to fight for Cuba, aiming for a third gold in Paris in three years.
“I’m going to try to see how my body reacts as I get ready, and then I look towards Paris,” Iglesias said. “I will always try to achieve the goals I have set for myself. “
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