June 19 - Cuban boxers will make their professional debut in a special World Series of Boxing (WSB) exhibition match in Mexico City in August, it has been revealed.
The Cubans will take on the Mexico Guerreros in a match over ten weight categories on August 30 and 31 following a visit to to the Mexican capital by C K Wu, President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
Professional boxing had been banned in Cuba in 1962 because the country's leader Fidel Castro regarded it as both corrupt and corrupting, while authorities there deemed it is too dangerous and unsafe.
But Cuba ended their ban in April this year as they signed up to season four of the WSB, which is due to begin in November, following negotiations led by Wu.
Alberto Puig de la Barca, President of the Cuban Boxing Federation, has already promised to send the country's strongest team, including Olympic, world and Pan-American Champions, to the event which will feature bouts of no vest and headguard and take place over five rounds of three minutes each.
Cuban boxers claimed two Olympic gold medals at London 2012, thanks to Robeisy Ramírez (pictured top) and Roniel Iglesias, who won the flyweight and light welterweight divisions.
The event has the support of Jesús Mena Campos, Mexico's Sports Minister, a former diver who won an Olympic bronze medal in the 10 metre platform at Seoul 1988, and Horacio de la Vega, a former modern pentathlete who competed at the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympics and is now general director for sports in Mexico City.
Vega, together with Ricardo Contreras, President of the Mexican Boxing Federation, and Gerardo Saldivar, general manager of the Guerreros, are now leading the search for a suitable venue to host the event, which up to 10,000 people are expected to attend.
One possible venue could be the El Zócalo, formally named Plaza de la Constitución is located in the heart of the historic centre of Mexico City, and which hosted the Guerreros WSB semi-final against Astana Arlans Kazakhstan in April.
"I am excited about this historical event and I cannot wait to be on 30 and 31 August to see some of the best boxers in the world taking on the ring," said Karim Bouzidi, chief executive of the WSB.
"While Cuba is one of the best - if not the best - boxing country in the world.
"Seeing them competing for the very first time in a pro-style format will surely send shockwaves throughout the entire boxing world.
"We are already in discussions with major global TV Broadcasters in order to propose this show to the widest possible audience."
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