Best boxers crowned at AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships in Belgrade

By Louise Miner
Best boxers crowned at AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships in Belgrade
Copyright  Darko Vojinovic/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.   -  

Thirteen champions have been crowned in Belgrade at the 2021 AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships.

Cuban boxers were the most successful, with three gold and two bronze medals, and they received the trophy for Best team.

Japan, Kazakhstan, and the USA earned two gold medals each, while Azerbaijan, France, the Russia Boxing Federation Team (RBF), and Ukraine each claimed gold.

Cuban Andy Cruz Gomez became a three-time World champion winning the light welterweight (63.5kg) category in Belgrade.

As well as being awarded best boxer of the Championships the 26-year old received AIBA’s highest accolade, the Val Barker Trophy.

AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships, Belgrade
Cuban Andy Cruz Gomez receiving the Val Barker TrophyAIBA Men's World Boxing Championships, Belgrade

The French Sofiane Oumiha regains his world crown in the lightweight category and there was also gold for the RBF Team Mark Petrovskii and the Ukrainian Yuri Zakharieiev.

Elsewhere, Kazakhstan's Temirtas Zhussupov was crowned in minimum weight and his compatriot Saken Bibossinov in flyweight.

The USA and Japanese teams impressed with two golds each.

But the large victories were for Julio La Cruz, the great man of these World Championships, and his compatriot Andy Cruz Gomez, who will each leave with €86,000.

"This money is not only my money," said Andy Cruz Gomez, "I will share it with my family. I think I will manage to spend it wisely and find a good purpose,"

AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships, Belgrade
Cuban Julio La CruzAIBA Men's World Boxing Championships, Belgrade

Julio La Cruz said, "I don’t feel that I am special, I respect everybody and I feel loved."

Twenty-five nations won at least one medal at the major event.

For the first time ever, Albania, Belgium, Iran, Scotland, Serbia, Trinidad & Tobago received medals for their efforts during the Championships.

For the first time in history, the winners in each weight category received significant prize money and solid medals, as well as champions’ belts.

AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships

The competition has become one of the milestones for the renewed AIBA. For almost a year, AIBA has been on its way to comprehensive reforms under new leadership. The Association has already ensured its financial stability and is on the way to creating new competition and scoring systems.

The well-being of athletes, coaches, and their National Federations has become a priority for AIBA.

The AIBA President Umar Kremlev said, "The most important thing is that AIBA becomes one of the most honest, transparent, and open organizations in sport."

Kremleve added that AIBA has engaged with many independent experts to help ensure good governance, sporting, and financial integrity.

The AIBA Flag was passed from Serbia, represented by team captain Vladan Babic, to AIBA Secretary-General Istvan Kovacs who in turn gave it to Senior Vice-President of Uzbekistan Boxing Federation Saken Polatov.

The next AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships will take place in 2023 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.