Cuban boxing stars benefit from good Olympics draw

Aug. 08, 2008, 7:53 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The young Cuban boxing team got mostly favorable positions in the Olympic draw Friday, but Puerto Rico's Arroyo twins weren't as fortunate.

Puerto Rican flyweight McWilliams Arroyo and Cuba's Andris Laffita both drew first-round byes, but the fighters likely will face each other in the quarterfinals, according to the manual draw conducted at a Beijing hotel.

Bantamweight McJoe Arroyo faces even more difficult circumstances after drawing a first-round matchup with Russia's Sergey Vodopyanov, the gold-medal favorite. Cuba's Yankiel Leon, the other top fighter at their weight, is on the opposite side of the draw.

Other Cubans shared Leon's good fortune. Star Cuban middleweight Emilio Correa can't meet Russia's Matvey Korobov until the gold-medal match, while lightweight Yordenis Ugas avoided his division's top fighters for a first-round meeting with Algeria's Hamza Kramou.

Cuban featherweight Idel Torriente was equally fortunate, drawing a first-round matchup with Ghana's Prince Octopus Dzanie while most of the other top fighters at his weight landed on the other side of the bracket. Torriente's toughest competition before the gold-medal match could be American Raynell Williams.

Heavyweight Osmai Acosta could meet Russia's Rakhim Chakhkiev in the semifinals, while light flyweight Yampier Hernandez might get a second-round matchup with Russia's David Ayrapetyan.

Cuban welterweight Carlos Banteaux didn't share his teammates' luck, since his first-round bye probably will lead to a fight with Britain's Billy Joe Saunders, a top medal contender.