The 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and their boycott by the Eastern bloc, including Cuba, are an important date in the Cuban history of boxing.
The purpose of this article is to analyze the competitions in 1983 and 1984, and also the Friendship Games, the alternative to the Olympic Games.
Even if it is totally impossible to predict the outcome of a hypothetical confrontation between Cuba and the USA at the 1984 OG, we will also compare the fighters for both countries.
Boycott and Friendship Games :
In response to the 1980 boycott of a part of Western bloc (see: 1980 : Moscow Olympic Games), 14 Eastern countries have decided to boycott the 1984 OG.
The announcement was made in May 1984, citing security concerns and anti-Soviet sentiments in USA.
Cuban Stamps issued for the 1984 Olympics, before the boycott
These 14 countries have then organized the Friendship Games, or the Goodwill Games, also known in Russian as Druzhba, or the Juegos de Amistad in Spanish.
These games were held in various countries of the Eastern bloc. The boxing tournament was held in La Havana/Cuba, from the 19th to the 24th August 1984, just a couple of days after the Olympics.
Before the Olympics :
During the 9th Panamerican Games held in Caracas, the finals are :
(-60 Kg) Pernell Whitaker/USA defeated Angel Herrera on points. Extract of the fight : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OPFL4Mai48
Whitaker (left) vs Herrera
(-63.5 kg) Candelario Duvergel beats Jerry Page/USA on points.
(-81 kg) Pablo Romero beats Evander Holyfield/USA on points.
(+81 kg) Jorge Luis Gonzalez wins the gold medal. Tyrell Biggs/USA, finishes 3rd.
During the North America championships, held in Houston/USA, in September 1983, Cuba wins 4 gold medals and 3 silver, with a team B, as the US team. In the -75 kg, Virgil Hill/USA beats Bernardo Comas, on points 5-0.
At the 14th Central American and Caribbean Championships, held in La Havana in December 1983, Cuba wins all the gold medals.
During the duel between the USA and Cuba, on February 18th, 1984, in Reno/USA, the results are the following :
(-51 kg) Pedro Orlando Reyes beats Steve McCrory/USA, on points 5:0.
(-57 kg) Meldrick Taylor/USA beats Adolfo Horta, on points 3:2.
(-60 kg) Pernell Whitaker/USA beats Angel Herrera, on points 3:2.
(-71 kg) Frank Tate/USA beats Orestes Solano, on points 4:1.
(-75 kg) Bernardo Comas beats Michael Nunn/USA, by RSC 2.
(-81 kg) Pablo Romero beats Evander Holyfield/USA, on points.
(+91 kg) Teofilo Stevenson beats Tyrrell Biggs/USA, on points 3:2. Video of the fight : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTiqc8TaTnk
On April 13th, 1984, at the 2nd AIBA Challenge Matches in Los Angeles, the results are as follows :
(-51 kg) Pedro Orlando Reyes beats Steve McCrory/USA, by RSC 2.
(-57 kg) Adolfo Horta beats Bernard Gray/USA, by RSC 2.
(- 60 kg) Pernell Whitaker beats Ramon Goire/CUB, on points.
(+91 kg) Tyrrell Biggs beats Francesco Damiani USA/ITA, on points.
Friendship Games :
The Games take place from the 18th to the 24th August, 1984. The Soviet team is composed of USSR Champions, except for Yanoskiy (-65kg) who was a finalist and Shin (-81 kg).
(-48kg) Juan Torres Odelin wins the final against Karimzhan Abdrakhmanov/USSR, 3-2.
(-51 kg) Pedro Orlando Reyes def Zbigniew Raubo/Poland, by WO. In the quarter-finals, Reyes beats Yuriy Vilishchuk/USSR, by RSC in the 3rd.
(-54 kg) Ramon Ledon beats Yuriy Alexandrov/USSR, on points 3-2. Alexandrov won the 1982 WC and will participate in the 1986 OG.
(-57 kg) Adolfo Horta beats Serik Nurkazoy/USSR, on points 3-2.
(-60 kg) Angel Herrera beats Enkhbat Nergui/Mongolia, on points 3-2. Nergui will be 3rd at the Olympic Games of 1988. In the quarter-finals, Herrera beats Nurlan Abdukalykov/USSR, on points 4-1.
(-65 kg) Candelario Duvergel beats Vyacheslav Yanovskiy/USSR, on points 3-2. Yanovskiy will become Olympic Champion in 1988.
(-67 kg) Jose Luis Hernandez loses vs Torsten Schmitz/GDR, on points 4-1. Schmitz has already lost the final against Hernandez at the 16th Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament, in 1983. Schmitz will be the 3rd at the 1986 WC. In the semi-finals, Jose Luis Hernandez beats Serik Konakbayev, on points 4-1. Konakbayev won the silver medals of the 1980 OG, losing vs Patrizio Oliva and of the 1982 WC, losing against the same Hernandez.
Torsten Schmitz during a fight at the Friendship Games
(-71 kg) Angel Espinoza beats Andrey Akulov/USSR, on points 3-2, in the quarter-finals, and beats Mikhail Takov/Bulgaria, on points 4-1, in the finals.
(-75 kg) Bernardo Comas wins in finals against Henry Petrich/Poland, on points 4-1. The latter defeated Henry Maske/GDR, by 3-2 in the quarter-finals. Henry Maske will become a Professional World Champion. Comas beats Asylbek Kilimov/USSR, in the quarter-finals.
(-81 kg) Pablo Romero beats Vladimir Shin/USSR in the finals, on points 4-1.
(-91 kg) Hermenegildo Baez beats Alexandr Yagubkin/USSR, on points 3-2, in the semi-finals and Alvic Gyula/Hungary 3-2 in the finals. Yagubkin was a 1982 World Champion.
Teofilo Stevenson (red) against Abadzhyan
(+91 kg) Teofilo Stevenson def Valeriy Abadzhyan/USSR, in the finals, by retirement in the 3rd. Here a two excerpts of this fight, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULqfYxzxcd4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zERE7JN1gYThis tournament is a one-sided confrontation between the Soviets and Cubans, Cuba wins all these direct confrontations.
We repeat, it is impossible to determine who would have been the gold medalist at the Olympics, if Cuba had been there.
By comparing the 1984 results, during the match against Cuba, we find that :
Reyes, winner of the Friendhsip Tournament, beats Steve Mc Crory, gold medal of the Olympics.
Ditto for Taylor, gold medal of the Olympics, facing Horta, winner of the FG.
Ditto for Whitaker gold medal of the Olympics, facing Herrera, winner of FG. Whitaker had already beaten Herrera in 1983, during the 1st AIBA Challenge.
Ditto for Romero, who won the FG against Holyfield, Olympic semi-finalist.
Ditto for Stevenson, winner of the FG against Biggs, gold medal of the Olympics.
In addition, Mark Breland, gold medal of the Olympics, beats Duvergel Candelario, winner of the FG, in a duel between the two countries in 1982.
The 1984 boycott , following the US 1980 boycott and announcing the Cuban 1988 boycott, has impeach the Olympic boxing direct confrontations between the two countries from 1976 to 1992.