Finally, Cuban women in the boxing ring

With a strong right hand to the face of the opponent, Elianni Garcia Polledo on Saturday won the first match of the national women’s boxing in the crazy games of Cuba.

“It is a historic event for Cuban boxing,” one of the judges said very loudly when he announced the “unanimous” decision of Garcia, from the province of Havana, over Reynabell Grant, from Guantanamo. Both 27

Dressed in red and shorts, Garcías tirelessly delivered strong blows with both hands that hit his opponent several times in the face, shoulders and abdomen.

That is, until a decisive blow, the third time on each side, leaving Dona the descending count, and finally decided to fight.

It was the beginning of the first official development of women in boxing, which many women and authorities of this sport were waiting for in Cuba, an island that boasts 80 world boxing titles and 41 Olympic gold medals in boxing, including the legendary Teofilo Stevenson.

Finally, the Cuban sports authorities gave the green light for women on December 5.

“This is a moment that we have been preparing for several years,” Alberto Puig de la Barca, president of the Cuban Boxing Federation, told AFP.

In the end there will be 12 women, two for each division, which will be the preselection team for the Central American Games in San Salvador, August 2023 and other international events.

“She (García) was just working hard, looking to shorten the distance,” Raul Fernandez, 55, one of her teachers, told AFP at the end of the fight.

Garcia, who says she came from boxing, now looks to be the best in boxing.

– ‘Bitter’ –

“I have a bitter feeling that I cannot express in Cuba,” Namibian Flores told AFP. At 46, this age is older than six years in this sport.

But it can be there outside the ring: “Now I’m the only trainer and one of the first girls that has been training since 2006,” she says.

70 years old and now retired, Nardo Mestre could not miss this moment.

She was an educator of Flowers and many other girls for almost 30 years, when she remembers that Alcides Sagarra, the father of the Cuban Boxing School, came one afternoon suggesting the need to train women.

So, “I never approved. Now I have the authority and I have already retired, but I am proud that the five girls I trained here today,” he told AFP.

Cuba has had female representation in all sports, including weight lifting and wrestling, since 2006, but the last bastion of “sports machismo” has long been insurmountable: putting women in the box.

Women’s boxing is currently practiced in 187 of the 202 member countries of the International Boxing Association (IBA).

Women made their debut at the Olympic Games in London 2012 with their triple division.

It has yet to be decided if Cuba could be represented by its women in the next Boxing World Cup in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, next May.


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