Sport is a big deal in Cuba, and the government pours a lot of resources into developing talent to represent the revolution on the world stage. Boxing is one of the areas the country has seen most success in, so why is the sport such a big deal on the island?
After taking power in 1959, Fidel Castro banned professional boxing in Cuba in 1962. Since then, amateur boxing ruled the roost. Talented Cuban kids are scouted at a young age and taken to train in special facilities, ready for a career representing their country, and they are known as some of the strongest boxers in the world.
Experts say Cuban boxing is a powerhouse because of the training regime that starts at an early age, as well as good funding from the government. Boxers also learn a distinctive style of fighting that relies on graceful movement and counterpunching. It’s effective and highly successful, but some of those Cuban boxers who defected to fight professionally have been criticized as boring by fans who want to see more action.
No one knows if the professional boxing ban will be lifted in Cuba, but the country remains a hugely important part of the global boxing culture.
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