Roberto Balado

Roberto Balado Méndez (February 15, 1969 – July 2, 1994) was a Cuban amateur boxer, who competed from 1986 to 1994. At the 1992 Summer Olympics he won a Gold medal in the men's super heavyweight (+91 kg).

Roberto Balado
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1990-1007-001, Berlin, TSC-Boxturnier, Roberto Balado, Arnold Venderlidje.jpg
Roberto Balado (left) facing Arnold Vanderlyde in Berlin, 1990
Personal information
Full nameRoberto Balado Mendez
Nationality Cuba
Born(1969-02-15)February 15, 1969
Jovellanos, Matanzas Province
DiedJuly 2, 1994(1994-07-02) (aged 25)
Havana, Ciudad de la Habana
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight100 kg (220 lb)
Sport
SportBoxing
Weight classSuper Heavyweight

A natural heavyweight, he was Olympic champion (Barcelona 1992), three times world champion (Moscow 1989, Sydney 1991, and Tampere 1993), and five times Cuban national champion. He was also the winner of the Val Barker Trophy for Outstanding Boxer at the 1992 Olympic Games.

Balado was at his prime, looking forward to win many forthcoming events, considered by some boxing experts to be the world's second-best fighter after Félix Savón (who competed one weight division below),[1] and being one of the favourites of the 1995 Pan American Games and 1996 Olympics, but died in a car accident.

At the time of his death, age 25, he had 250 fights, with a record of 238 victories, and 12 losses.

Early yearsEdit

Balado was born in Jovellanos, Matanzas, on February 15, 1969. Before his first birthday, the family came to live in Old Havana and shortly thereafter they moved to the El Palenque neighborhood (La Lisa), next to the La Lisa bridge.

He was 14 when he took up boxing, and soon participated in the National School Games.

CareerEdit

In 1984, Cuba's long-time Olympic heavyweight Teófilo Stevenson, although retaining physical strength and staying in shape, and even aspiring to win the fourth gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games (which Cuba ultimately boycotted,) already needed to pass the torch and find a suitable alternate for the Cuban National Boxing Team.

Raúl Fernández's promotional transfer to the Orbeín Quesada training center, headquarters of the National Athletic Selection, played a decisive role in the formation and subsequent consecration of Balado.

Regarding the Balado's ascent to the national team, Alcides Sagarra pointed out: "Raúl spoke with me of the boy and without any hesitation I agreed to get him trained in the 'Finca.' He began to show progress and very soon his was something more than just learning. He was always willing to help in the sparrings, and he didn't care about the name of the opponent in front of him."

Cuban sport officials questioned the decision to include Balado as the Cuban representative in the superheavyweight class to compete at the 1989 World Championships in Moscow, but he proved the critics wrong and won the event.

HighlightsEdit

DeathEdit

On July 2, 1994, Roberto Balado was driving to train at the headquarters of the Cuban team at the Holveín Quesada National School of Boxing (Escuela Nacional de Boxeo “Holveín Quesada,”) but didn't make it as he died in a crash at a train crossing in Havana.

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