World Junior amateur champs Perez, Garcia and Acosta link up with new management and bring in World class sparring as they step up preparations for their return to the ring.
Three undefeated Irish based Cuban boxers are determined to offer a triple threat as they bid to add professional World titles to the World Junior titles they won in the amateur ranks. The trio, Heavyweight Mike “The Rebel” Perez (8 - 0 with 6 KO's), Light Heavyweight Luis “El León” Garcia (5 - 0 with 4 KO's) and Super Bantamweight Alexei “The Hurricane” Acosta (10 - 0 with 10 KO's) have just wrapped up an intensive period of sparring in their adopted home city of Cork as they sharpen up ahead of their next competitive outings.
The trio have parted company with former manager Gary Hyde and are now being managed by Cork businessman Patrick Thomas who has linked up with Brian Peters in a move that has left all three feeling reinvigorated about their professional careers.
Just last month Acosta recorded yet another inside the distance victory over former World Champ Felix Machado to improve his record to a perfect 10 - ten fights, ten wins and ten KO's. Perez and Garcia are also gearing up for a ring return following long periods of inactivity and they have brought in World class sparring partners to help them shed any ring rust accumulated during their respective layoff's.
Perez has been sparring Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson, the World rated American who was unbeaten in 22 fights until losing on points to Vitali Klitschko in a Heavyweight title fight last December.
Garcia has also been mixing in top class company having brought Los Angeles based Light Heavyweight Enrique Ornelas to Ireland for some intensive sparring sessions. Ornelas last outing came in December when he dropped a 12 rounds points decision to boxing superstar Bernard Hopkins.
Acosta has also been clocking up the rounds sparring with Canadian prospect Andrew Kooner and unbeaten Irish featherweight Willie Casey. All three were delighted with the work but particularly Perez and Garcia who have both been on the sidelines for extended periods due to injury and inactivity.
Perez dislocated a shoulder last year and hasn't fought in over a year while Garcia has been out of the ring since last April however both men are now ready to relaunch their careers. “It's been very frustrating sitting on the sidelines because of the injury but I'm back now and the shoulder is as good as new,” revealed Perez.
“The heavyweight division is desperately in need of a new star and I believe I can get people excited about heavyweight boxing once again. Kevin Johnson is one of the best heavyweights out there right now and just went the distance with Vitali Klitschko but he didn't pose any problems for me in sparring.
“I know I still have things to work on and I need to keep improving but I won't be happy until I am crowned the World Heavyweight Champion and give the people of Cuba and Ireland a Champion that they can be proud of.”
Garcia is also looking forward to his ring return. “Last year was frustrating for me with fights falling through but that is in the past and now I only want to look to the future. Obviously it is not easy to leave your family and friends behind in Cuba but I am very happy here in Ireland. Cork is my home now, I'm very settled here and have good friends here so it's where I want to stay and fulfil my potential.
“Like every other boxer I want to fight on the big stage and have World title fights in places like Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden but I believe that I can still do that while basing my career in Ireland. Like Cuba Ireland has a great tradition in boxing and hopefully I can help to add to that.
“Boxing is my life and I believe it is my destiny to be a great World Champion. Sparring with Enrique Ornelas and World Champions like Carl Froch has done nothing to change that belief.”
Garcia was delighted to sharpen his skills against Ornelas with the Mexican fresh from his battle with Bernard Hopkins. “Enrique is a good, experienced pro and it's always good to spar people like that. He's just coming off a points defeat to Hopkins so he knows what it is like to compete at the highest level.”
Acosta has advanced the furthest of the trio to date with his perfect run now stretching to double figures. Despite his growing reputation as a knockout artist the 22-year-old believes there is much more to come in terms of power. “I don't focus on the knock out. My aim is to win and if a fight finishes early that's a bonus,” said Acosta.
“I actually have a problem on the middle knuckle of my right hand which has meant that I'm not as effective with my right as I would like but I am going to get treatment on that and once that has been addressed then I'll be able to get full power in to my right hand.
“All three of us are still young guys, myself and Luis are just 22 and Mike is 24 which is very young for a heavyweight. We are not in a rush to get to the top but with our amateur experience we don't fear any one out there and we all believe we can reach the very top in the sport.”
All three men will be looking to add to their undefeated records when they return to the ring in Ireland over the next couple of months.