Cuban Women Challenge Their Government With First Female Boxing Team

Cuban women are ready to rewrite the rules of boxing on the island. According to the Associated Press, more than half a dozen of the nation’s female boxers have amplified their training in the effort to make history at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Cuba is home to more Olympic boxing medals than any other country, but officials aren’t quite looking for the next Félix Savón or Julio Cesar La Cruz in a woman. In fact, aspiring boxing champion Idamelys Moreno, 24, was once thrown out of a local gym for working on her goal, which prompted PanAm Games gold medalist Emilio Correa Jr. to step in for support. “They can bring more glory to the Cuban sport,” he said. “They are diamonds in the rough…The motor skills, the explosive nature and the energy of Cuban boxers are also present in these women.”

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The government, however, isn’t swayed by the proposal for the nation’s first female boxing team as they conduct medical studies to determine the impact of blows to a woman’s body, although Cuban women have already made strides in strenuous sports like wrestling, judo and weightlifting.

Cuba’s One-Woman Boxing Revolution” Namibia Flores Rodriguez, an inspiration in the eyes of many trainees, has slammed the Federation of Cuban Women for not supporting the cause in spite of its legacy tied to helping women enter male-dominated professional fields, but the Olympic hopefuls show no signs of slowing down in the face of adversity, much like their predecessor.

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“My mom says it’s a violent sport,” Legnis Cala, 25, told AP. “But there are women in other countries who also box…And if they give us permission, I think we’ll also make it.”