Boxing-Cuba permits female boxers to compete after 60 years

7 December, 2022

Cuba, who are renowned in the sporting world as a Boxing powerhouse, has given the green light to women who wish to take part in tournaments for the first time since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, as confirmed by the sports officials in the country on Monday. 

Cuba, who are one of the Caribbean islands, have been long hailed for its top-ranked men’s boxers. In their history, they have won 41 gold medals in the Olympic games since Munich in 1972, topping global charts as the leading country for producing some of the best boxers. 

But for the female boxers in the country, they had to migrate to other countries in order to reach the higher levels in this sport as Cuba had banned women from competing in boxing for over six decades. 

“Women’s boxing in Cuba… is going to bring us to the international medal table. We have a {law} now that assures equality between men and women,” said Ariel Saínz, vice president of Cuba’s Institute of Sports (INDER), at a news conference, after announcing the government’s decision to legalize participation by women in the sport.

The new laws were forced into the picture with growing protests for equal rights to women and the LGBTQ community. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced in 2009 that women could begin competing in boxing in the Games. Three years later the first female boxers competed in the London 2012 Games, and later in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020.

Cuba, despite its rich history in the sport, were one of the countries in the world that did not practice women’s boxing among the 202 nations affiliated with the International Boxing Association (IBA).

Interestingly, all authorities on Monday who came to address the press, did not say why women were prohibited from boxing in Cuba. Women on the island are allowed to take part in wrestling, weightlifting, karate, taekwondo and judo. The addition of boxing quickly made waves in gyms in the Cuban capital of Havana, where for years women have trained, only to be forced to leave the island if they wished to compete.