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The Cuban heavyweight beast who could be world champion right now

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There’s a heavyweight in the vested ranks with boxing in his blood. Erislandy Savon is forging a career path in the considerable shadow of his uncle Felix.

Savon, 30, is already considered the best in his field from the amateur ranks following in the footsteps of his famous family member.

Felix Savon retired in 2000, winning three Olympic gold medals and six world amateur championships. Savon should have won a fourth had Cuba chosen to participate in the 1988 Games in Seoul.

Erislandy Savon

On the back of Felix came Erislandy, taking up the sport as a child and bursting onto the scene in 2008.

Since then, Erislandy Savon has racked up almost 200 victories. He’s a massive puncher and boasts a nearly 25% KO ratio. Unheard of, considering a percentage of those stoppages came with head guards.

Not yet heading into Tokyo 2020 (taking place in 2021), Savon is under no pressure to emulate his uncle and gain a gold medal.

A hand injury suffered in the run-up to qualifying had initially ruled Savon out. This latest delay gives the Cuban selection committee a new headache.

Savon has been on the wrong side of some close decisions despite his excellent displays in previous tournaments.

Anthony Joshua in the 2012 London Olympics was among the more notable at 17-16.

Savon possesses impressive talent. But the skill that it’s feared may never enter the paid ranks.

If he gets a wildcard and wins gold next year, there may be a slight and minute chance he defects from Cuba. Although his family is still there and holding his uncle Felix in such high regard for not leaving, that remains an improbable scenario.

Boxing is set to miss out on one of the greatest cruiserweight or heavyweight talents, well, since his uncle.

When feeling pressure to turn pro, Felix gave his reasoning for not taking big money.

“Cuba, since 1974, has been the king of amateur boxing in the world,” he said. “That is why the media of other countries keep asking why we don’t box professionally.

“Professionalism will abolish humanism and society. Athletes have been the most important thing in Cuba since Castro took over. We practice sports from the age of 8.”

The next big boxing star

Had Felix turned pro, he would have been in the mix with Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield, and Lennox Lewis – a mouth-watering thought.

So, will we ever see Erislandy trading with Joshua without a vest? Or even Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder isn’t very certain.

A dream scenario would see Savon get that wildcard, win gold in Tokyo, and become a cruiserweight contender. If he did that, it’s roundly believed it could take minimal bouts for him to take a recognized strap.

In all honesty, he could be a world champion now if he challenged many of those who hold a title at 200 pounds.

As for the top division, a year or two at the 200 limits would prepare Savon well for a heavyweight experience from around 2022 or 2023.

Then, the heavyweight world could firmly be his oyster. Fingers crossed.

WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN on Facebook @officialworldboxingnews and Twitter @worldboxingnews.