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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Boxers Challenge Cuba's 'Total Supremacy'

ST PETERSBURG -- The resurgent Russians are threatening Cuba's dominance of amateur boxing after a series of outstanding results at the Goodwill Games.

Russian boxers beat Olympic flyweight champion Joel Casamayor and Olympic light-middleweight champion Juan Lemus on their way to winning five golds, just one behind Cuba.

The Cuban squad took advantage of the Soviet Union's collapse to gather seven golds at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics but Russian boxing seems to have overcome its financial problems and is clearly on the road to recovery.

Cuban coach Alcides Sagarro declared himself satisfied with the haul of six gold medals but he will surely be worried both by the way some of his fighters performed and also by the emergence of Russia as a worthy successor to the defunct Soviet Union.

"The Cubans looked a bit tired -- you could see that. There's no doubt they're the leading power but they're not as strong as they used to be," said Yuri Markov, secretary-general of the Russian Boxing Federation.

Sagarro may not be too happy about the defeats but International Amateur Boxing Federation (AIBA) president Anwar Choudhry believes they are good news for the sport.

"From AIBA's point of view it is very good that the total supremacy of one country will end. I am happy the Cubans did well but it is not a good situation from other countries' point of view," he said.

Nevertheless, Choudhry paid tribute to the Cubans' training methods, and said that although the squad might win fewer gold medals at Atlanta there was no chance of their boxing program collapsing.

"One of the Cubans' strong points is their international exposure -- go to every international tournament and they're there. They always take the strongest team," he said.