The U.S. and Cuba prepared to battle each other...

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The U.S. and Cuba prepared to battle each other for the team championships Friday with nine boxers from each country in the finals of the North American Amateur Boxing Championships.

The two countries were scheduled to meet in six bouts beginning at 11 p.m. EDT.


In Thursday's semifinals, light heavyweight Keith Vining of Detroit and middleweight Louis Howard of St. Louis defeated Cuban fighters.

Vining breezed to a unanimous decision over Cuba's Idelfonso Lugo, while Howard knocked out Mario Rodriguez at 2:05 of the second round.

The only other U.S. fighter in semi-final action was super heavyweight Elmer Martin of Kings Bay, Ga., who was knocked down twice in the third round and lost a decision to Canadian boxer Willi Dewit.

Cuba had five winners in semi-final action Thursday: Pedro Reyes, 112; Jesus Sollet, 125; Ramon Goire, 132; Julio Quintana, 165; and Pedro Cardenas at heavyweight.

The Dominican Republic had two winners Thursday: Hector Diaz, 106, and Angel Laureano, 156. Mexico had one victor: Jeanard Leon, 147.

Cuba is the current No. 1 team based upon its win at the World Championships last month in Munich, West Germany. The U.S. finished second, edging the Soviet Union.


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