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And the Beat Goes Savon…

By Stephen Tobey


MANCHESTER, N.H. – Like many young boxers, Erislandy Savon looked up to Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather Jr. But there is one other role model, one who has had a more direct impact on his career, one who has the same last name.


Savon’s uncle is Felix Savon, the three-time Olympic gold medalist at heavyweight for Cuba in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Games.
 
“His example is a very positive one,” said Erislandy, the day before he fights for the Cuba Domadores in a World Series of Boxing event on Saturday against the USA Knockouts’ Joshua Temple at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H. “Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve loved to watch him box.”
 
The 23-year-old Savon is 5-0 in the World Series of Boxing, with two TKOs and one knockout. Before joining the WSB, Savon was a world youth champion in 2008 and a silver medalist in the Cuban national championships in 2012.
 
He said his style is similar to that of his more famous relative but changes in the sport have required changes in style. “Boxing has changed,” he said. “The technical skills have changed and we’ve had to adapt.”
 
Amateur boxing at the highest level, especially in the World Series of Boxing, has changed quite a bit in recent years. Out is the computer scoring; in is a pro-style, 10-point must system. Gone is the headgear. In the World Series of Boxing, the bouts are five three-minute rounds.
 
Thus far, Savon has been pleased with the way his World Series of Boxing experience has gone and is confident that the competition will help him reach his goals. “This has given me experience,” he said. “It’s given me an opportunity to see the world.”
 
His goal is to eventually compile an amateur record comparable to his uncle’s. “In lieu of an Olympic gold medal, I want all of the AIBA records,” he said. “I want to win championships and retain them as long as I can.”
 
Temple, Savon’s opponent on Saturday, is a 21-year-old from St. Louis. He is 0-2 in the World Series of Boxing but won national junior championships in 2008 and 2009 and an Under-19 (Cadet) national championship in 2010. He earned a bronze in the most recent U.S. Olympic Trials, a silver in the 2013 National championships and a gold in the 2014 Nationals.
 
“It’s a good opportunity,” said Temple. “People tell me he’s 5-0 and I think I have a chance to change that. I’ve seen some clips of his fights and I feel I have a chance to beat him.”
 
The five World Series of Boxing bouts on Saturday also include a fight involving 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Yasnier Toledo of Cuba against Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic. The USA Knockouts’ roster also includes Anthony Chacon of San Juan, Puerto Rico and Mario Delgado of Quito, Ecuador. Ramon Cardenas of San Antonio is making his World Series of Boxing debut at bantamweight against Cuba’s Marcos Forestal.
 
“It’s an honor to be a part of this,” said Cardenas, a 19-year-old who has won four national junior titles. “Everything is going well. The training is going well. I’m looking forward to fighting.”
 
Stephen Tobey can be reached at sg.tobey2@comcast.net.

 
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