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Cuba Lifts the Ban on Women’s Boxing

Martial Arts in Cuba


Cuba has lifted a 60-year ban prohibiting women from going pro in the sport of boxing, a decision made by the Cuban Boxing Federation. Alberto Puig de la Barca, the president of this organisation, has outlined that the “fundamental goal is to make sure that boxing is practised massively by women who are motivated to take up this sport.”


Boxing will join the arena of wrestling, weightlifting, karate, taekwondo, and judo, which women in Cuba are permitted to compete in. Martial arts are widely popular and successful in Cuba, with men holding a leading position in the medal table of the IBA World Boxing Championships with 80 gold, 35 silver and 28 bronze medals. Therefore, the long-awaited fight for women's place in competitive boxing holds great historical significance.


Why was the Ban in Place?


The prohibition had been in place because of the perception that boxing was excessively aggressive and hazardous for the female gender.


In response to this, the Cuban Boxing Federation “studied for many years the pros and cons, and investigations were conducted before the conclusion was made that there is no issue with integrating women in boxing. There are protective measures in place in women’s boxing that can guarantee there are no injuries. In past events, both international and regional, there were no cases of traumas suffered by female boxers.” Puig outlines that the conclusion of these investigations is the motivating factor in their decision.


Consequential Impacts


This alteration in regulations is a step towards reducing sexism and gender bias notions within Cuban boxing.


The wife of the former president of Cuba held the position of leader in the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC). She believed that boxing would cause damage to the beauty and value of Cuban women's faces. However, this discriminatory law against women has finally become dated enough, leading to this long-awaited rule change.


Female boxer Joanna Rodriguez has stated that this rule change “could even shift the way of thinking because there is machismo among both men and women here", a hopeful premise for the wider future of Cuba.



Edited by: Anwen Venn

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