Cuba to host first professional boxing match in 52 years
HAVANA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The match scheduled here Friday night between Cuba and Russia, both world boxing powers, as part of the World Boxing Series (WSB), will be the first professional one, marking a discreet return of professionalism to the island after 52 years of its abolition.
This is for the first time that the Caribbean country holds an international competition under the rules of professional boxing since former Cuban President Fidel Castro eliminated that sportive modality in 1961.
Cuba took part last November for the first time in the WBS, a semi-professional competition sponsored by the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA).
The Cuban-Russian match will be held at the Sports City Coliseum in Havana.
The Russian squadron comprises five young fighters of very little history on the ring. The fighters are flyweight Bator Sagaluev, featherweight Muhammad Shehov, light welter and national champion Radjab Butaev, middling Andrei Efremenko and cruiser Victor Kuduhov.
The host country will be represented by the "Wranglers": Yosbany Veitia (49 kilograms), Marco Forestal (56), Luis Oliva (64) , Ramon Luis (75) and Erislandy Savon (91).
The WBS provides cash remuneration for participants, Cuba incorporated to the Series this year, meaning a slight return to professionalism. But Cuban Boxing Federation president Alberto Puig discarded that the island will return to professionalism after the event.
He stated that the goal of participating in this kind of competition is getting in the best possible shape for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
The boxing in Cuba is considered its flagship sports, and the island has won 67 medals at the summer Olympic games in the field, particularly playing a ruling role from 1972 to 2004.