The Dominican Republic has produced 22 world boxing champions and two Olympic medalists. The latest prospect from the Caribbean island is Dominican Republic Olympic Team member Rohan Polanco, who has already turned pro but is also heading to Tokyo to compete in the Olympics.
The 22-year-old Polanco, ranked No. 5 in the world by AIBA, is on a special journey for a Dominican fighter. Neither of the two Dominican Olympic medalists, Felix Diaz (gold in 2008) and Pedro Nolasco (bronze in 1984), became world champion as professional boxers; none of the 22 Dominican world champions won a medal at the Olympics.
Polanco has officially qualified to compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. His main competition in the welterweight division includes Pat McCormack (UK), Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo (Cuba), and Bobo Usmon Buturov (Uzbekistan). McCormack will be competing in the Olympics for the second time, Sotolongo his third having captured gold and bronze medals, respectively, in 2012 and 2008.
In his fourth pro bout without a loss this past weekend in the Dominican, Rohan (4-0, 2 KOs) registered a third-round technical knockout of his Italian challenger, Arblin Kaba (12-1-1). He finished off Kaba with a barrage of punches that started with a sharp right-uppercut, indicating that he has adapted to the professional style of boxing despite competing as a world-class amateur at the same time.
“Rohan will relocate to Boston after the Olympic Games,” Polanco’s manager Gary Hyde reported. “He has prepared there for his first four fights with head trainer Hector Bermudez. He will compete at the 140-pound junior welterweight division. I’m very excited about this kid. He has a great attitude, and we believe he has the goods to win world titles. All four of Polanco’s pro fights have been scheduled 6-rounders. He’s been pushing for an 8-round bout, but now we will wait until after the Olympics to go eight.”
Bermudez has trained world champions TJ Doheny, Jonathan Guzman, Carlos Gongora, Vince Phillips, Ryad Merhy and Javier Fortuna.
Polanco represents the future and Hyde, who has managed four world champions, is confident his fighter will join the ranks of his other champions.