Cuba to allow female boxers to compete after decades of restrictions

After decades of prohibitions, Cuba will now let female boxers take part in competitions.

Women will be allowed to compete in recognized events, National Institute for Sports (INDER) authorities in Cuba stated during a press conference on Monday.

Additionally, officials announced intentions to select 12 athletes for a women’s squad that would compete internationally at the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador in a tournament in the middle of December.

Vice president of INDER Ariel Sanz said during the press conference, “Women’s boxing in Cuba… is going to bring us to the international medal table.”

Cuba was one of only a few nations associated with the International Boxing Association (IBA) that did not practice women’s boxing. Cuba has been home to great male boxers like Félix Savón, Teófilo Stevenson, and Julio César La Cruz. Given that women could participate in other combat sports like taekwondo and wrestling, the contentious limitation was all the more surprising.

Sanz highlighted that since Cuba’s introduction of a series of legislation aimed at combating discrimination against women and LGBTQ+ individuals in Cuba, the gap between male and female competitors is gradually closing. In turn, this paved the door for women to compete in the sport of boxing.

Now that legislation has been passed, equality between men and women is guaranteed, according to Sainz.

Back in April, Cuba approved professional boxing for the first time since 1962.

Fidel Castro banned pro boxing in 1962 but that didn’t prevent their amateur stars from defecting to other countries in pursuit of world titles and lucrative purses.

Castro believed that the sport was corrupt but despite his efforts to ruin it, Cuba is a dominant force in boxing.

“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,” said Alberto Puig, president of the FCB, in a statement handed to BoxingScene.