The best boxing prospects from the 2016 Rio Olympics: Robeisy Ramírez

Robeisy Ramírez could become the most successful boxer in Olympic history. At 22, he already owns gold medals at two different weight divisions. By 30, he could have five of them. Even if he defected tomorrow, his triumph at Rio puts him in the pantheon of Cuban greats.

A complete fighter, Ramírez is accurate, fast, skilled and tough. His resume includes victories over world-class talents including Michael Conlan, Lazaro Alvarez, Andrew Selby, Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Shakur Stevenson.

Ramírez burst onto the senior scene as an 18-year-old flyweight (52 kg / 115 lb) at the London Olympics, after winning both the AIBA Youth World Championships and the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

I know how it was in the past, but I like to talk about my fights.

The southpaw had a rough route to Rio. He suffered a shock defeat in the continental qualifiers, and only secured his place at the final qualifying tournament for amateurs in Azerbaijan.

When he finally arrived, the returning champion performed with regal authority in the best division in amateur boxing, capping a terrific tournament with victory over Shakur Stevenson of the USA.

Ramírez had fought twice more than Stevenson prior the final, a product of the American’s first round bye and a walkover in the semi-final when his scheduled opponent pulled out injured.

The fresher man made his bout with the more experienced Cuban a close one, but Ramírez maintained an impressive work-rate to edge a razor-thin decision on the scorecards.

The speculation is that Ramírez is the most likely of the Cuban boxing stars to go pro. He embraces the spotlight, and happily chats to reports.

“Everyone still has their choice whether they wish to speak to reporters, but I don’t mind,” he told AP. “I know how it was in the past, but I like to talk about my fights. It’s no problem for me.”

He’s already adjusted to five rounds fighting in the World Series of Boxing (WSB), where he remains unbeaten. Ramírez is part of a generation of Cubans who are more exposed to life beyond the island, and the unattainable sporting riches that were previously so far away are getting closer every day.

Ramírez is certainly attracting attention from overseas. Even the great Floyd “Money” Mayweather deigned to speak to the Cuban star. But Ramírez surely noticed that Mayweather didn’t even remove his earphones when they spoke.

Like his fellow Cuban amateur star Guillermo Rigondeaux before him, Ramírez may find he is better appreciated in his home country than he is abroad.

Previous: Daniyar Yeleussinov | Next: Shakur Stevenson


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