Current World Elite champion Erislandy Savon had to get off the floor to beat Dublin heavyweight Kiril Afanasev in the Chemistry Cup heavyweight final in Halle, Germany this afternoon.
The Irish Elite champion floored the Olympic bronze medallist in the first round but the shaken Cuban showed his experience to take rounds two and three and earn a 4-1 split decision against the Dubliner who put in a massive shift in the gold medal match at the 45th edition of the tournament.
Savon is a nephew of legendary three-time Olympic champion Felix Savon who once turned down $1 million to go pro and fight Muhammad Ali.
Afanasev will be bringing home silver from Halle. Irish captain Joe Ward, Conor Quinn, Kieran Molloy and George Bates all claimed bronze.
Ward was beaten on a 3-2 split decision in Friday’s semi-final with Cuba’s current Olympic and World heavyweight champion Julio La Cruz who was on a floor from a right hook from the Westmeath southpaw and took a count in the first round with Ward also winning the second frame.
La Cruz was sensationally KO’d in the first round by Khalil Coe of the USA in today’s 81kg decider.
"He (La Cruz) walked straight into a right hand," said Ward who was at ringside for the final.
Meanwhile, Galway welterweight Molloy claimed his first Irish Elite belt at Dublin’s National in February and asked some serious questions of Cuba’s 2017 World Elite finalist and 2012 Olympic champion Iglesias Sotolongo in Halle on Friday.
"I feel it was a great learning curve to step in with the best welterweight in the world and give him all he wanted, said Molloy who lost out on a unanimous decision.
"I see myself coming on a lot from this fight and I’ll definitely not fear anyone in the world now that I know where I stand. I’m 19, by the time I’m 21 I believe that I will be the number 1 in the world."
The squad are due to arrive home at 7.40pm tomorrow night via Dublin Airport (Terminal 1).