About to turn 19 on Sept. 21, Venezuelan Yoel Finol is just at the beginning of his quest for greatness in boxing. A few weeks ago, he won gold in the AMBC Continental Championship in the 52kg class, defeating Cuba's Yosbany Veitia in the finals.
The charismatic young man, whose slender build belies his power, ignited the stadium crowd with his expressiveness both inside and outside the ring. Despite his young age, he is self-reflective and philosophical about his passion for boxing.
From a very young age, Finol studied the basics with his uncle Evelio Finol, who taught him the straight cross from the southpaw stance as well as the overhand left and the left uppercut. In 2006, when he began training in his hometown of Merida with coach Ydol Alfredo Gonzalez, he realized how much he had to learn.
Gonzalez said, "Throw a right hook," but Finol did everything with his left!
"He taught me to use my other arm. Also to move with agility in the ring," said the young man, who represented the Caciques de Venezuela in the 2015 World Seres of Boxing in the 49 kg weight class, and took bronze at the Pan American Games in the same weight.
Finol says he feels better at 52kg, and dreams of representing his country at the Rio Games at this new weight.
"Yoel Finol — notice that I am answering in the third person – has a very clear career,” said the "Cacique," as fans sometimes call him. "He wants to box in two Olympic cycles and earn medals for his country that has given him so much."