Super-heavyweight Robert Acea beat American Michael Hunter on Tuesday to cap off a dominating display by Cuban boxers at the Americas Olympic [ Images ] qualification tournament with nine fighters earning tickets to Beijing [ Images ].
The results marked a stunning return to the international ring by the powerhouse Cubans, who did not send a squad to Chicago for last year's World championships where the first Olympic qualifying spots were up for grabs, following a string of defections.
Of the 23 Olympic spots on offer at the Jean Pierre Complex, Cuban boxers claimed nine from 11 weight classes, Acea, the 2007 Pan Am Games champion, securing the last with a convincing 12-4 victory over Hunter in the 91+ kg gold medal bout.
Ecuador, Venezuela and the US were next best with three qualified boxers apiece.
Acea will be joined in Beijing by team mates Andry Laffita Hernandez (51kg), Yankiel Leon Alarcon (51kg), Idel Torriente (57kg), Yordanis Ugas Hernandez (60kg), Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo (64kg), Carlos Banteaux Suarez (69kg), Emilio Correa Bayeux (75kg) and Osmai Acosta Duarte (91kg).
American light welterweight Javier Molina, lightweight Sadam Ali and heavyweight Deontay Wilder all secured berths in Trinidad joining U.S. team mates light flyweight Luis Yanez, flyweight Rau'shee Warren, bantamweight Gary Russell, Jr., featherweight Raynell Williams and welterweight Demetrius Andrade who had already clinched Olympic spots.
Boxers from the Americas will have one more opportunity to book an Olympic spot at the final qualifier scheduled for April 23-30 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.