Acosta: Little man, big talent

23 April 2009 – By Padraig Hoare

Bantamweight Alexei Acosta is the best kept secret in world boxing.

That is according to promoter Gary Hyde, who runs his third professional boxing event of the year on Saturday night in the SilverSprings Moran Hotel, Cork. The Cuban sensation, who was four wins with four knockouts from his first four contests, will top the bill for the first time against Argentinian Sergio Victor Caruso (14-6-2, 3 KO).

Heavyweight Mike Perez was originally to top the bill, but a damaged shoulder in training has him sidelined for four to five months.

Acosta, who has just turned 21, has a glittering amateur background back in his native Cuba, with more than 200 victories. He became junior world champion in 2006, defeating US Olympic starlet Luis Yanez along the way, and was world cadet (Under 17) world champion before that. He has won national Cuban titles since he was barely in his teens.

“The Hurricane” defected from Cuba along with super-middleweight Luis Garcia in 2008 to join heavyweight Mike Perez in Cork after becoming disillusioned with the politics of Cuban boxing that kept him away from representing his country at the Beijing Olympics. Rathcooney-based businessman Hyde says Acosta was always on his radar after hearing special things.

Acosta has so far been eased into the professional ranks because of a niggling hand injury. It has meant that Mike Perez and Luis Garcia are the ones who have received all the plaudits from the media and boxing websites. That is all about to change, according to manager and promoter Gary Hyde. The hand has been given the clean bill of health, and Acosta is rearing to go, added Hyde.

Under the tutelage of Glenn McCrory, the former cruiserweight champion of the world and Sky Sports analyst, Acosta’s prowess has been enhanced even more.

“With Glenn’s experience, Alexei has been brought on so much. He was a terrific amateur, but he is now a world-class prospect. The movement, the power, the footwork, everything. Now he is injury-free, I knew it was time to step him up in class and show him off to the Cork public at the top of the card.”

Acosta will top a bill that also includes Luis Garcia, Cork’s Spike O’Sullivan and Limerick’s Jamie Power.

Light-middleweight Spike (8-0, 6 KOs) will face experienced Pole Marcin Piatkowski, who has a record of 19-14. He has only been knocked out six times in the 14 losses, and manager Paschal Collins said he also wanted to step his charge up.

“This guy has been in with some good names, and has campaigned a few times at middleweight and super-middle. His extra strength will give Spike something to think about, and that is the kind of test we are looking for at this stage. The world is Spike’s oyster, and every fight he has from now will provide an extra test. Spike has had the glowing endorsement of legendary Boston trainer Goody Petronellli, who guided Marvellous Marvin Hagler to the very top of the boxing world. That tells people they are seeing someone exceptionally talented.”

Glenn McCrory told Irish-boxing.com that he would not swap his three Cubans for any other prospects in the world.

“These guys have so much ability, it is frightening. They are still learning. but they are a pleasure to guide. The three of them are future world champions, of that I have no doubt. Luis Garcia has gained the headlines lately because of his natural ability and his dazzling performances. He has so much in the bag, and is improving every day. The only one that can stop him becoming world champion is himself.”

Garcia (4-0, 3 KO)faces Nestor Fabian Casanonova over eight rounds. Limerick’s thrill-a-minute light heavy Jamie Power rounds out the bill.

Fight fans will also have the opportunity to see the SilverSprings show through their computer screens. It is being broadcast on GoFightLive.tv for $5. Limited tickets for the dinner show are still available from Gary Hyde. The 100 ticket includes a four-course meal, along with four fights and a bar extension. Ring 087 2424898 for enquiries.

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