Career relaunch for Cuban boxing trio

THE three Cuban boxers based in Cork are all set to relaunch their careers under new management.

Heavyweight Mike ‘The Rebel’ Perez, light heavyweight, Luis ‘El Leon’ Garcia and the exciting super bantamweight, Alexei ‘The Hurricane’ Acosta – all former world junior champions – have parted company with Gary Hyde who brought them to Ireland.

They are now managed by another Corkman, Patrick Thomas and, in a significant move that will undoubtedly help their careers, Thomas has linked up with Promoter, Brian Peters.

Peters, who managed and promoted Bernard Dunne to his world title, is planning to get all three fighters back in the ring as early as May.

Perez, who has won all eight professional contests, six by KO, has been out of action since dislocating his shoulder last year. He has been sparring Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson, a world rated American who was unbeaten in 22 fights until losing on points to Vitali Klitschko in a heavyweight title fight last December, in advance of his return to the ring.

Garcia has also been mixing in top class company having brought Los Angeles-based light heavyweight, Enrique Ornelas, to Ireland for some intensive sparring sessions. Ornelas’ last outing came in December when he dropped a 12 rounds points decision to superstar Bernard Hopkins.

Acosta, who last month recorded yet another inside the distance victory over former world champ, Felix Machado, to improve his record to a perfect 10 – ten fights, ten wins and ten KO’s, has also been clocking up the rounds sparring with Canadian prospect, Andrew Kooner, and unbeaten Irish featherweight, Willie Casey.

“It’s been very frustrating sitting on the sidelines because of the injury but I’m back now and the shoulder is as good as new,” Perez said. “The heavyweight division is desperately in need of a new star and I believe I can get people excited about heavyweight boxing once again.

“Kevin Johnson is one of the best heavyweights out there right now and just went the distance with Vitali Klitschko but he didn’t pose any problems for me in sparring. I know I still have things to work on and I need to keep improving but I won’t be happy until I am crowned world heavyweight champion and give the people of Cuba and Ireland a champion that they can be proud of.”

“Boxing is my life and I believe it is my destiny to be a great world champion,” Garcia said. “Sparring with Enrique Ornelas and world champions like Carl Froch has done nothing to change that.”

Garcia was delighted to sharpen his skills against Ornelas with the Mexican fresh from his battle with Bernard Hopkins.

“Enrique is a good, experienced pro and it’s always good to spar people like that. He’s just coming off a points defeat to Hopkins so he knows what it is like to compete at the highest level.”

Acosta has advanced the furthest of the trio to date with his perfect run now stretching to double figures. Despite his growing reputation as a knockout artist the 22-year-old believes there is much more to come in terms of power. “I don’t focus on the knock out. My aim is to win and if a fight finishes early that’s a bonus,” he.

“I actually have a problem on the middle knuckle of my right hand which has meant that I’m not as effective with my right as I would like but I am going to get treatment on that and once that has been addressed then I’ll be able to get full power in to my right hand. All three of us are still young guys, myself and Luis are just 22 and Mike is 24 which is very young for a heavyweight. We are not in a rush to get to the top but with our amateur experience we don’t fear any one out there and we all believe we can reach the very top in the sport.”

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