By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Following a change in the rules, Cuban women boxers will now be allowed to compete.
Women’s boxing was introduced as an Olympic discipline in the 2012 London Summer Games. But not in Cuba.
The former Cuban President Raoul Castro’s late wife, Vilma Espin, as Head of the Federation of Cuban Women, considered that Cuban women’s faces were too beautiful and precious to be sullied by boxing!
Joanna Rodriguez, a heavyweight boxer, is hoping to be selected to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics, and commenting on the change in the rules, she stated:
“This is going to change everything. It could even change the way of thinking because there is machismo among both men and women here.”
For her trainer, Namibia Flores, the change has come too late, and she has remarked as follows:
“I’m really happy it’s happened, of course. But, at the same time, a little sad as I’d hoped it would be my fists, my gloves which would bring Cuba victory.”
Instead of competing in Paris, she will be coaching the Cuban women boxers (boxeadoras).
Although the change in the rules will be welcomed, with Cuba in the midst of its worst economic crisis, boxing gloves, punch bags and skipping ropes, as well as other essentials, such as vitamin supplements, are difficult to obtain by women fighters.
So, the fight for equality in women’s boxing in Cuba is not yet over!