#APB History is written as Arisnoidys Despaigne becomes the first Cuban boxer to compete in AIBA Pro Boxing on Friday night, June 20

19 June 2015 News


History will be made on Friday night in Kemerovo, Russia, as a Cuban boxer will make his debut in AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) for the very first time during the Welterweight (69 kg) Cycle I Round 1 stage.

Fans will be able to watch the action live and free at 20:00 (GMT +6) on www.youtube.com/user/AIBAproboxingTV.

When 32-year-old AIBA World Championships silver medalist Arisnoidys Despaigne (CUB) makes his debut against Dimitros Tsagrakos (GRE), he will become the first Cuban fighter to compete in APB, and this news has been greeted with much interest across the boxing world.

With the full endorsement of the Cuban Government, a partnership was made earlier this year confirming that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has become the exclusive partner for all Cuban boxers from the Cuban Boxing Federation whenever they compete in international boxing competitions, including APB.

“Cuba’s arrival in APB represents a further step forwards into making this competition one of the most vital and successful sporting systems in the world, and we are delighted to be welcoming Arisnoidys Despaigne to the format, as he is one of the most entertaining and fan-friendly Cuban boxers to watch,” said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.

Cuba are one of the most successful nations in boxing history, having won a total of 67 Olympic Games medals, and have also earned a deserved reputation as a sporting nation built on pride and honour.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Teofilo Stevenson was one of the greatest boxers of his generation, but memorably declined an opportunity to face Muhammad Ali despite a huge cash offer, because he would have needed to defect from his beloved Cuba if he had accepted.

“What is one million dollars compared to the love of eight million Cubans?” remarked Stevenson at the time, and those values have remained a mainstay of the Cuban psyche to this very day.

The transparent judging, fair and equal system and reliable match format were all significant reasons for Cuba’s decision to join APB, and the organisation is delighted to welcome the country to the fold.

Mr. Alberto Puig de la Barca, President of Cuba Boxing Federation also expressed his excitement. “Cuba’s historic entry into APB has been an important step in the development of our boxers and we have immense pride in Arisnoidys Despaigne becoming the first of our athletes to display his skill and heart across this world class format,” he said.

Despaigne has enjoyed a very successful career in recent years, and won the deciding match in the Season IV World Series of Boxing Finals for Cuba Domadores.

Tsagrakos is seen as the underdog, but the two-time Greek National Champion has been competing since 1999, which means he will not be fazed by his decorated opponent in the ring.

Three more matches will take place in Kemerovo, including an excellent contest between the number one ranked Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Okwiri (KEN), and Gyula Kate (HUN).

Okwiri stunned the boxing world in the first week of the APB Ranking Phase when he sensationally knocked out Marcos Nader, and the Kenyan made it all the way to the APB Inaugural Title Match where he was defeated by Champion Onur Sipal (TUR).

Kate is a highly experienced boxer who has twice finished on the podium at the AIBA World Championships, as well as earning two European silver medals across his distinguished career.

Although each fight is scheduled for over eight rounds, do not be surprised if this match in particular fails to go the distance.

As his nickname suggests, ‘Boom Boom’ carries devastating power in both hands, while Kate also boasts considerable strength, and needs to attack from the outset if he is to triumph.

The winner of the Okwiri/Kate contest will meet either Eimantas Stanionis (LIT) or Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy (RUS) in Cycle I Round 2.

Both Stanionis and London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medalist Zamkovoy have identical 3-1 records in this competition, and their bout is expected to be a very entertaining clash with neither man known to take many backward steps in their fights.

Zamkovoy will enjoy home advantage of the support of the fans in attendance, while Stanionis is known to perform well under pressure.

Two debutants open the action in Kemerovo, with 2013 AIBA World Championships bronze medalist Arajik Marutjan (GER) facing Amin Ghasemi Pour (IRI).

Match schedule:

  • 20:00: Arajik Marutjan (GER) vs Amin Ghasemi Pour (IRI)
  • 20:30: Arisnoidys Despaigne (CUB) vs Dimitros Tsagrakos (GRE)
  • 21:00: Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Okwiri (KEN) vs Gyula Kate (HUN)
  • 21:30: Andrey Zamkovoy (RUS) vs Eimantas Stanionis (LIT)
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