Savon ready to unleash his savagery on the world

Teofilo Stevenson's successor is a man with a mission. Glyn Leach reports

The heavyweight Felix Savon Fabre, also known as Felix Savon, is without doubt the most celebrated amateur boxer in the world. The captain of the powerful Cuban squad for Atlanta has won every possible honour in amateur boxing.

His resume is imposing: five world championships; three Pan-American championships; two Goodwill Games titles; and he enters these Olympics as a defending gold medallist, having outpointed the United States' Dannell Nicholson in the Barcelona final. Savon has lost just 10 times in more than 250 fights.

Of course, any Cuban heavyweight's career must inevitably be compared to that of the great Teofilo Stevenson, who won three consecutive Olympic titles and might have added a fourth but for Cuba's boycott of the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

Savon could conceivably have been in a position to better Stevenson's record had Cuba not also boycotted the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but hopes to equal his achievement by winning gold at Atlanta and then at the Sydney Games in the year 2000.

On Stevenson's retirement in 1986 Savon assumed the mantle of Cuba's boxing superstar. He has also bettered Stevenson on one count: Savon has won 12 consecutive Playa Giron (Cuban championships) titles, whereas Stevenson recorded only 11 victories, non-consecutive. But despite his exalted status, Savon always shows deference to Stevenson when in his predecessor's presence.

Such is Savon's standing that his appearance at international tournaments generally sees AIBA officials queue to be photographed with the great man. Inevitably, this leads to accusations of pro-Savon bias from other nations. It is also claimed that Savon's reputation as the most devastating puncher in the 91-kilo class leads to his contests being stopped too early through exaggerated fear for the safety of his opponents.

His style, typical of the great Cuban heavyweights, is that of an aggressive banger. This approach is not generally rewarded under the computer scoring system introduced at Barcelona, where Savon's decision over Nicholson in the final was closer than might have been expected. Scoring aesthetics aside, Savon's only weakness is a chin that may not be the strongest in the world. His main opposition at these Games is likely to come from the Frenchman Christophe Mendey and the United States' Nate Jones, both of whom Savon has beaten previously.

Savon's last defeat came against his fellow countryman Freddie Rojas at the Cordoba Cardin tournament in 1995. Rojas, incredibly, will drop down to the 81kg category for these Games, following the defection of Ramon Garbey.

Like Stevenson, Savon has received significant professional offers. While Stevenson declined the opportunity to face Mohammed Ali, Savon has turned down a reputed $10m (pounds 6.4m) offer to fight Mike Tyson.

But while two of the Cuban squad have defected on the eve of these Games, the chances of Savon following suit appear to be nil. The father of twins - a boy named Felix Maria and a girl named Maria Felix - is a party man rather than a party animal. Savon is the ultimate ambassador for Cuban boxing.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (App development, SAP, interfacing)

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...

Systems Developer Technical Lead

£65000 - £70000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Energy Engineer

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy En...

Techincal Accountant-Insurance-Bank-£550/day

£475 - £550 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Technical Accountant-Insuran...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment