Coach Recruits Unlikely Boxer In Fight Against Cuba’s Female Boxing Ban


Havana boxing coach Luis Pérez is determined to play a hand in the lifting of Cuba’s ban against women’s boxing. Albeit the small island nation has long been lauded for its boxing program, the sport has dishearteningly left women out of the ring. Thirteen-year-old Hatzumy Carmenate – both fearless and brilliant – is resolute on rewriting the rules, literally going toe-to-toe with anyone standing in her way.

READ: Cuban Women Challenge Their Government With First Female Boxing Team

While training to be a first in her native country, Carmenate plans to one day reunite with her original coach—her father, who now lives in New York on a mission to build a better life for his family. “With the grace of god, we don’t plan on living in Cuba forever,” she says.

READ: “Before Night Falls” Series Captures Cuba’s Hidden Queer Scene

In the video below, The New Yorker goes behind the story of young Carmenate and her relationship with coach Pérez, tenderly capturing the cultural spirit of what it means to master the “dance” of boxing in Cuba. Follow their journey: