Cuba Lifts Pro Boxing Ban After 60 Years
Cuban boxers won’t have to flee their homeland any longer.
The Federacion Cubano de Boxeo (FCB) agreed to allow its amateur stars to turn pro as early as May in Aguascalientes, Mexico where they have been regularly training since last summer. This agreement was the first of its kind in 60 years.
Pro Cuban boxers will be represented by Golden Ring Promotions.
“Three and a half years ago a serious analysis began that has resulted in the approved agreement and well seen by the direction of the country’s sport and the Cuban Boxing Federation with Golden Ring Promotions, for the representation of Cuba in its entry into professional boxing,” Alberto Puig, president of the FCB said in a statement to Boxing Scene.
“The continuous sports and competitive preparation of Cuban boxers to continue representing and raising the name of Cuban boxing in all competitions where it forms part and the economic benefit it represents for boxers, coaching staff and medical triad that work with the team, are one of the main objectives.”
Professional boxing has been banned in Cuba since 1962 under the reign of late leader Fidel Castro. He barred the sport because he thought it was corrupt.
As a result, Cuban boxers turned to international tournaments and amateur fighting, both of which they’ve dominated.
The one tournament that has seen the true power of Cuba’s boxing roots is the Olympics. Cuba’s boxing teams have won 78 Olympic medals, including 41 gold.
The news comes just less than two weeks ahead of a major fight for top Cuban pro boxer, Yordenis Ugas.
Ugas, a WBA welterweight titleholder, will seek to become a three-belt champion when he faces WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr on April 16 in Texas.
Ugas has had at least six defection attempts, which all ended in prison time before he was able to escape in 2010.
“We will seek to place [Cuban boxers] in the rankings of all the professional boxing organizations for whom we have a deep respect,” Gerard Saldivar, president of Golden Ring Promotions said.
“The boxers will have the full support of the Cuban sports authorities, they will train in Havana and travel to take part in professional fights.”
They have intentions to stage at least four events throughout this year, which will be aired on ESPN Knockout.