Until Recently, Cuban boxers who wanted to go professional had to defect to another country. Cuba has had a ban on professional boxing since 1962, but that ban has now been lifted. Today, we’re going to take a look at what this means for Cuban boxers, and the sport of boxing, going forward.
The Calling Cards of Cuban Style Boxing
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Cuban boxers have long dominated the amateur ranks of the sport, and it's not hard to see why. The ‘Cuban school’ of boxing is extremely technique and timing-focused, producing a style of incredibly well-defended fighters who can create and take advantage of openings with pinpoint, picture-perfect shots.
For examples of this, we can look at deadly southpaw Luis Ortiz at heavyweight and Guillermo Rigondeaux at super bantam. These two athletes also prove that the defense first, ‘hit and don’t get hit,’ style that allows Cuban boxers to dominate in the amateur scene can translate over to the professional ring with great success.
What This Means For Cuban Boxers
The lift on this moratorium means that far more talented Cuban amateurs will be able to compete and earn money in the professional boxing ring without having to defect to another country. This will create a ton of opportunities for sponsorships, lucrative hometown fights, and in general, give the Cuban boxer a chance to make a living competing in the sport they love.
What This Means For Boxing
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We are very quickly going to see a huge rise in Cuban contenders in the sphere which may cause a lot of problems for fighters who have more heart than technique. There is a reason Luis Ortiz was avoided by all of the heavyweight champions until he started showing his age. There is a reason Lomachenko was one of the only elite low-weight fighters willing to tangle with Rigondeaux: Cuban fighters are very, very good. Their fighting philosophy is similar to the Eastern European style exemplified by Ukrainian fighters like Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk: they hit and they do not get hit. They also tend to have limitless gas tanks due to their style, emphasizing quick and precise movement, which means they’re a threat for all 12 rounds.
First of all, congratulations to the Cuban boxers who are finally allowed the chance to earn a living in the sport they love. And second, this move will create an extremely competitive environment in the sport that will lead to some truly incredible technical showdowns in the future. That’s a huge win for all boxing fans.