He was fast, strong and well founded. He was out and away the best at the end of 80's and at the beginning of 90's. He has won everything and everyone and could achieve even more, if wasn't past away, so early and so tragically. Roberto Balado was the best super-heavyweight on the amateur ring.
Roberto Balado Mendez was born February 15, 1969, in Jovellanos, Matanzas province, Cuba. Roberto never had a size of a huge heavyweight (6'1ft, about 100 Kilo), but he was gifted with the speed, was good on his feet and had a heavy punching power, and earned all the best what could offer the Cuban boxing school. The first respectable success came in 1987, when in Havana Balado won The Junior World Championships (under 19) at heavyweight (91 Kilo), knocking out all of his opponents. Stepping into the senior class, the toughest opposition was met against the future Cuban legend, three-time Olympic Champion, Felix Savon. Savon was older, more experienced and much more taller and athletic. They met four times, all of them the winner was Felix. Roberto decided to step up to super-heavy (over 91 Kilo) and that was the right decision. The five times Balado won the Cuban Nationals, in 1991 he was the winner of PanAmerican Games, three times became a World Champion- in Moscow'89, Sydney'91 and Tampere'93. Roberto won the World Cup'90 in Bombay, but in 1992 became the Olympic Champion in Barcelona, where he was awarded with Val Barker Trophy, as an outstanding boxer of the Olympic tournament. Against the European Champion, Svilen Rusinov, Balado fought about 10 times and no in single fight left even the hope to the experienced Bulgarian. The future WBC champion Oleg Maskaev, after being knocked out by Balado at the WCH in Tampere, refused to fight at the finals of 1994 World Cup in Bangkok, the tournament which will be the last one in Roberto's carrier.
On July 2, 1994, on the one of rail crossings near Havana, the train crashed into the car, all the passengers of the vehicle were killed. One of those passengers was the famous boxer Roberto Balado, he was only 25! Today we can only guess, how would further expand the carrier of Balado. He was the undisputed leader of super-heavyweight division, and was in his prime. The most possible that Roberto would win even more world and Olympic titles. Maybe, Balado, as number of his team mates, would defect from Cuba and would successfully continue his carrier as pro. Now, almost 20 years past since the death of the great fighter, but he still be the most titular champion of his division. On February 15, Roberto Balado would celebrate his 45!
Three-time world champion Nana Konadu, or Nana Yaw Konadu Yeboah in the full name, was born 1964 in Sunyani, Ghana. In 1989, Konadu won the WBC super-flyweight title, beating on points Gilberto Roman of Mexico. Later on, Nana lost his belt to The South Korean star Moon Sung Kil, and also was defeated at their second fight. In 96-th and 97-th, Konadu twice captured the WBA bantamweight belt, losing it to legendary Johnny Tapia, in 1998. The Ghanian finished his carrier in 2001, with the record of 41(32 KO)-5(1 KO)-2. On February 15, Nana Konadu is celebrating his 50-th Anniversary!
Ray Sefo, one of the world's leading K-1 super-heavyweight kickboxers of more than decade, was born 1971 in Auckland, New Zealand. At the teen age, Ray used to practice the several martial arts, but finally stuck on muay-thai. His professional debut came in 1995. Winning a few world titles, Sefo choose to concentrate on K-1. The Ray's best achievement was in 2000, when he became a runner-up at the K-1 World Grand Prix, in the final losing by the decision to the famous Dutch, Ernesto Hoost. Later on, Sefo also tried himself in professional boxing and MMA. His last fight was on March, 2012, when he fought Mirko Crocop Filipovic, at the Croat's final fight. Today, Ray Sefo with his family has settled down in Las Vegas, Nevada, he is the president of WSF (World Series of Fighting). On February 15, Ray becomes 43-years-old!