Boxing Boss Visits Cuba; Ukraine Targets Sochi Medals; Slovak Bid Faces Questions

(ATR) C.K. Wu tells ATR to expect a Cuban franchise for World Series of Boxing ... Sergey Bubka cites medal target of 14 for Sochi ... Opposition groups weigh in on 2022 bid ... More inside this Olympic Newsdesk ...

Boxing Boss Visits Cuba

C.K. Wu tells Around the Rings to expect a franchise in Cuba when World Series of Boxing launches its fourth season this November.

"I think we have a mutual understanding," the AIBA president said by phone from Havana after a Wednesday meeting with his Cuban counterpart Alberto Puig de la Barca, clarifying that the WSB contract is still subject to final approval from the relevant authorities.

Wu also held talks this week with the sports ministry and stopped by an anti-doping laboratory during a visit he described as "very very good".

"I think the Cuban Boxing Federation and government officials now fully understand the WSB and AIBA Professional Boxing programs," he said.

"Certainly, the important message is that this is the best protection, in particular for the boxers," he added, citing an athlete's ability to maintain his Olympic eligibility even after entering the ring for WSB or APB bouts.

With the WSB starting its fourth season in November and APB set to launch in December or January, the IOC member from Chinese Taipei told ATR it’s especially critical to have Cuba onboard.

"They are producing so many good boxers and also coaches, so this is very important to the development of the sport," he said.

"This certainly gives a very important message that one of the top boxing countries will maybe join WSB."

Ukraine Targets 14 Medals in Sochi

Ukraine National Olympic Committee president Sergey Bubka said he can see 20 athletes leading the charge for Ukraine in the Sochi Olympics.

"We count on nearly 20 sportsmen and must provide them with finances and equipment, and resolve the issues with training camps, selection competitions, so they can get licenses," he was quoted by the Kyiv Post.

On Thursday, Bubka announced the NOC spent nearly $30 million between 2008 and 2012 training athletes for the Olympics.

At the 2012 Olympics, Ukrainian Olympians won 20 medals, including six golds. Ukraine did not medal in Vancouver.

Slovak Bid Faces Questions

Slovakia’s Olympic bid is already facing domestic questioning.

Earlier this month, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said the government would support a joint bid with Poland. Under the arrangement, Slovakia would host ice hockey and sliding events.

However, opposition groups are already declaring their stance.

Erik Balaz of the environmental group VLK said the Games "would not bring anything positive" for the environment.

Economist Richard Durana of the Institute of Economic and Social Studies said Slovakia should stay away from the Olympics.

"Organization of the Olympic Games is a very expensive, short-term boost of national pride that only very rich or very irresponsible countries can afford," a report from broadcaster JOJ quoted Durana as saying. The news report was called "Economic Suicide."

Bidding for the 2022 Olympics is in the very early stage, with bids expected from the Ukraine, Switzerland and several other countries.

Written by Ed Hula III.

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