Women’s boxing in Cuba: very close to the definition

By: Nelson de la Rosa

It is possible that when you read these lines the direction of the INDER has spoken about it, as there is increasing pressure, from the outside and from within, for Cuba to officially assume the practice of women’s boxing.
Leaving the point clear from the beginning, I do not support the idea and from my point of view, which may be totally different from yours, I set out the reasons that I consider sufficient.
Looking only at the organism there is no sport that causes as much damage as boxing in its various modalities (including so-called mixed martial arts or “worth everything”) and women are not exempt.
Pugilists are exposed to injuries that can be mild or severe. Even with the use of headboards as protection, cuts and bruises on the face, including lips and nasal septum, are shown to be common. Blows to the body can cause rib fractures, liver damage and even internal bleeding.
Nor are the damage caused to the eyes that can lead to vision loss. And there are few cases of brain injuries after repeated blows to the head.
And precisely the blows to the head are preferred by fans of this sport because they are the ones who provoke the Out of Combat or the K.O., similar to the home run in baseball or the goal in football.
In response, prestigious Medical Colleges in the United States, Australia, Canada and Britain, among others, have called for an end to boxing. Another recognized entity such as the American Academy of Pediatrics recently stated that this sport is totally unsuitable for young athletes.
However, many of the advocates of boxing claim that injury mortality rates are low and that fighters are aware of the risks they take and the same applies to women.
That is, you are aware of the risk you take and assume responsibility. Perhaps by opposing this some countries such as Norway, Sweden and Iceland have already banned all sports in which a K.O. can be produced.
Unfortunately, and especially at the professional level, boxing promoters in many cases are unscrupulous and willing to put money to enhance shows that are closer to the Roman circus than to Olympic sport, because they will always find in the stands similar beings who enjoy watching two likes intentionally hit each other and others whose economic need leads them to take risks that may lead them sooner rather than later to suffer irreversible damage , whether male or female.
Medical reports report that so-called traumatic chronic encephalopathies are present between 40% and 80% of professional boxers and nearly 20% of them are affected by Parkinson’s disease, the legendary Mohamed Ali is one of the victims.
It is true that in Cuba there is no professional boxing, but the Olympic modality is increasingly more like the professional one. The use of the protective headboards took away the knockouts of boxing and began to descend as a spectacle. Now the story changes and the format of the World Series gradually becomes more like the rented sector.
It is no secret to anyone that the dome of world boxing is marked by corruption and sport is not fully secured for the 2020 Tokío Olympics. So its leaders want to arouse new sensations and the increase in female practice has more to do with the economic than with the purely sporty.
And this is another reason I set out. It’s not about the woman using boxing to improve her physique or character, it’s about being part of a show.
Surely, some sectors will treat me as sexist or retrograde, but that’s what I think. I am not against the woman practicing boxing, I am against the woman fighting on top of a ring, beating and being beaten by a similar one, with the price, besides, suffering damage to her body, and thus feeding the morbidity of the male majority that fills the room.
And one more argument: practicing boxing, i.e. molding punching and dodging techniques, Swiss, giving the sack or pear, “shadowing”, etc., is beneficial for health because it helps burn hundreds of calories in a short time, lose body weight or maintain it if applicable, strengthen the muscles of the body and improve cardiovascular performance. It also helps release the stresses of the day, raise self-esteem and confidence. But what is also proven is that beating a human being, rather than the sack or pear, is harmful.
Although women’s boxing has been part of the Olympic program since 2012 and the categories are increasing, its practice is so old that it dates back to the beginning of 1714, when in England former boxer James Figg founded a Boxing Academy known as the “Figg Amphitheatre”, which had a particularity: it also organized fights between women, at a time when there were no gloves or other protections. There came Elizabeth Wilkinson, who is considered the first Champion, although she was never recognized by any organization.
Many years passed and female pugilism did not enjoy international recognition, but in 1904 at the St. Louis Olympics, a fight was already made between women as an exhibition. A short time later, Barbara Buttrick was recognized as the first female professional boxer and the first World Champion when she defeated Phyllis Hugler in a six-round bout on October 8, 1957. Buttrick retired three years later, after more than thirty bouts and founded the World Women’s Boxing Federation (WIBF), one of the most important bodies for women’s boxing to this day.
Going back to the beginning, it is true that the Cuban woman has broken many schemes and today excels in disciplines that once seemed unthinked for them such as weightlifting, fighting, judo, taekwondo or karate. Especially the last four are combat and there is a risk of a devastating blow, but much less often than in boxing.
However, in Cuba there are cases of boxers who have been training for many years, perhaps the best known being Namibia Flores and Idamelys Moreno.
The first is the most media and also the older one (already over forty years old). She arrived in boxing after practicing taekwondo and the latest reports place her in Denmark, after getting tired of waiting for an INDER authorization. Protagonist in several documentaries (especially Boxer, by American filmmaker Meg Smaker), the capitalina trained at least fifteen years, often with her own resources.
For his part, Moreno, with twenty-six years and 55 kilograms of weight, whom they call “La Domadora” still holds the hope of being at the 2020 Olympics. He previously practiced various disciplines, including athletics, football and wrestling.
However, there are several girls who train in the Trejo Arena or elsewhere in the country, and await the approval of INDER, an organism that has taken a long time to say Yes or definitely NO, claiming that medical studies are done to learn more details and argue whether or not it is appropriate to practice competitively.
Some of its advocates do not refer as much to women’s rights, but to a way to win more medals at international events, at a time when our country is gaining less and less and the contribution of boxers could be as effective as that of boys. And that, at least for me, would be an unacceptable justification.
The truth is that the waiting time seems to be coming to an end. I hope and prevail common sense. Ω

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