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Boxing: Savon Wins in Budapest

October 22, 1997

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ Five-time world champion Felix Savon of Cuba hammered Canadian heavyweight Mark Simmons 15-4 on Wednesday in a quarterfinal bout of the World Amateur Boxing Championships.

The tournament lost its last North American on Wednesday when Canada’s other quarterfinalist, super heavyweight Jean-Luc Bergeron, was beaten 7-3 by Georgia’s George Kandelaki.

Savon, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has ruled the heavyweight class with iron fists in recent years. He pounded Canada’s David Defiagbon 20-2 in the gold medal bout last summer in the Atlanta Olympics.

Simmons had won 70 of 101 bouts going into the tournament, including the Canadian title, and had lost narrowly to Savon once before. But the 23-year-old university student, who scored an impressive victory Monday over American champion Davaryll Williamson, was outclassed this time.

Cuba’s Alexis Rubalcaba scored a surprise by knocking out Russian super heavyweight world champion Alexei Lezin.

Rubalcaba, 25, fourth in the current world rankings, led the top-ranked Lezin when the Russian left his head undefended for a second in the fourth round.

Rubalcaba’s left sent the Russian to the floor and the Cuban into the semifinals with at least a bronze medal guaranteed.

Another Russian-Cuban encounter ended in an upset, with light middleweight Paata Gvasalia outpointing reigning Pan American champion Roberto Guerra of Cuba 10-5.

The top Russian-Cuban encounter is scheduled Thursday, a rematch of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic welterweight final between Olympic champion Oleg Saitov of Russia and Cuba’s Juan Hernandez Sierra, winner of the last three world championships and two-time Olympic silver medalist.

Saitov advanced to the semifinal by outpointing Neil Gough of Ireland 6-2 and Hernandez defeated Guillermo Saputo of Argentina 10-5.

Semifinals in six weight decisions are scheduled Thursday.

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