Mary 2520Kom_2520boxing_1August 21 - Cuba, one of the most successful boxing nations in Olympic history, will refuse to send any female fighters to London 2012, it has announced.

Jose Barrientos, the President of the Cuban Federation, claimed that female boxing should not be allowed.

He said: "'We have no intention at this time to take part in any international tournament, because we consider this discipline as not appropriate for women.

Cuban has traditionally been a powerhouse of amateur boxing, though recent defections have weakened its team.

Its boxing team have won 63 of the country's 194 Olympic medals since the country made its debut at the Games in St Louis in 1900.

That includes 32 gold medals, making it the second most successful country in Olympic history behind the United States.

Barrientos said the communist country does not currently have a programme to develop women's boxing.

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board, meeting last week in Berlin, approved the introduction of three weight divisions of women's boxing for the first time at the London Olympics in 2012.

Boxing had been the only summer Olympic sport without women competitors.

Pedro Roque, one of Cuba's leading boxing coaches, said: "Cuban women are made for beauty and not to take blows around the head."

In contrast, wrestling and weightlifting have been open to Cuban women since 2006.