Cuba embraces women’s boxing with eye toward 2024 Olympics

Havana, Dec 17 (EFE).- Cuba’s first women’s boxing tourney got under way here Saturday, the start of a process to assemble a team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The ring at the Giraldo Cordova Cardin High Performance Athletes Training School in Havana will be the venue for bouts featuring 48 fighters competing for the 12 spots on the team Cuba will send to the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador.

At the start of this month, the vice president of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation, Ariel Sainz, and Cuban Boxing Federation chief Alberto Puig de la Barca announced plans for a national women’s boxing tournament in November 2023 to select a squad for the Paris Olympics.

The embrace of women’s boxing comes on the heels of a decision earlier in the year to allow Cuban pugilists to fight professionally for the first time in six decades and Cubans competed as pros at a event in Mexico in May.

Authorities in the Communist-ruled island allowed boxers to join the semi-pro circuit in 2014.

Fifty years ago at the Munich Olympics, boxers Orlando Martinez, Emilio Correa and Teofilo Stevenson won Cuba’s first gold medals since before the 1959 revolution. EFE lbp-jce/dr

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