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
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
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

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little