HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 24 (ACN) His unexpected victory in the World Boxing Championship held last month in Budapest, Hungary earned middleweight Yoenlis Hernandez one of the Mentions awarded to Cuba’s Athletes of the Year 2021.
However, the most surprising thing is that this 24-year-old boxer, who boasts powerful left jabs and spot-on right hooks, won the world’s top title without having won a Playa Giron National Boxing Tournament, something unprecedented in the annals of the so-called flagship of Cuban sport.
In Havana's Martí Theater, venue of the Gala for the best athletes of the year, Yoenlis declared in statements to ACN that the prize made him feel very proud.
“Without being a national champion, I was given the responsibility of representing Cuba in this world championship. I focused on each fight and followed every one of my coach Victor Sanchez’s instructions and, as the tournament went on, I felt more confident until I won the gold,” he remarked.
Yoenlis said that all fights were difficult because he was making his debut in a World Championship, and winning that gold medal without being the favorite is the greatest thing that has ever happened to him.
“When I won the first fight against the Brazilian, my coach told me that they had predicted for me a bronze medal at best, but that I had worked hard enough to look at the gold,” Yoenlis commented. “So when I secured the bronze medal I felt a bit more confident and told my trainer that I would change the color of that one.”
Undoubtedly, this world title brings new expectations for Yoenlis in 2022, when his first goal will be to become No. 1 in his division.
“I want to continue to be the same person and train hard every day to make my coach proud and promise him that I will rely on him to win many more fights,” he pointed out.
Yoenlis, who confirmed that he often imitates the boxing style of his fellow countryman, five-time world champion and one of Cuba’s top-ten athletes of 2021 Julio Cesar La Cruz, referred to the expected participation of the Cuban Domadores in professional events.
“That entails more training and more precision. The preparation includes a harder work regimen, but what matters is that I stick to what I have always done in the gym: train hard, focus and follow the coach’s instructions to the letter,” he concluded.