The Cubans are coming!

By Leon De Juda: In recent times, there has been an incredible talent coming from the Island of Cuba. This may seem extrange for some who are not used to hearing the word " Cuban boxer or Cuban champion " mentioned in professional boxing. Ever since 1959, the Island of Cuba has been banned from professional sports, but that is changing little by little or maybe, " in a hurry ". Ever since the mid 1990's when only a few Cubans dared to defect and make it to the US, that has dramatically changed. In the 90's, a Cuban defector was something very rare, but now days they are coming in bunches and in groups..

There has always been an speculation as to how well the " Cubans " would have performed in professional sports, thus including boxing. There is no doubt that Cuba produced Hall of Famers in pro boxing, but they were completely shut down ever since Castro took over in 1959 and banned professional sports. So far, the Cuban defectors have managed to produced 3 World Champions in Joel Casamayor, Juan Carlos Gomez and Diosbelys Hurtado. Many also failed but it was mainly due to the lack of discipline and training.

The hot Cuban list of defectors just keeps on growing, presently campaigning in the pros it's Erislandy Lara 154lbs, Yuriorkis Gamboa 126lbs, Odlanier Solis HV, Yudel Johnson 160lbs, Yordanis Despaigne 165lbs, Guillermo Rigondeaux 122lbs, Yunier Dorticos 195 lbs, Humberto Savigne HV, Sullivan Barrera, Yoelvis Gamboa 126lbs and in Ireland, Ismaikel Perez HV, Luis Garcia 160lbs and Alexei Acosta. Now, we can add another great Cuban amateur to that list in Luis Franco. Franco has defected and will make his professional debut in Miami, Florida on July 31st. Franco is also a very accomplished amateur who captured a World Amateur Championship at 122 lbs and was a Cuban Olympic Team member.

As if the featherweight division was not competitive enough with names like Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Lopez, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Chris John and Celestino Caballero, now we can add another Lion to that list in Luis Franco. Franco at age 27, is another boxer puncher who can do it all and has over 400 amateur bouts and a World Championship at 122 lbs under his belt to help him along the way. He will make his professional debut on July 31st. This just makes things better and will no doubt add more exitement to the 122lbs and 126lbs divisions.

A lot of people don't seem to understand what Cuba has in boxing. Whenever a boxer defects, they just make a simple call to the ESPA which is the highest school for sports in Cuba and from there they replace the defector with another hot and talented Cuban youngster instantly. Cuba has " hundreds " of boxers just as in baseball that are available instantly if a situation like a defection occurs. Why so may? It's simple, first it starts with the long and rich tradition that Cuba always had and has for baseball and boxing and secondly, it offers a very big window of opportunity for the athlete to go out of Cuba and bring home the much needed necessities for them and for their families.

Ever since things get worse and worse in Cuba, there are more and more defectors. Now, they are coming one after the other. This is just great news for boxing and for the fans as they will add more exitement and of course more Champions for the public to enjoy. Of course, this will not stop here. As the reamaining boxers in Cuba see how well their former team mates are doing in the professional ranks they will be tempted every second to defect. This is what is causing the constant defections and without a doubt will continue and increase as well.

So, let's all get prepared to finally see the Cubans in action. It has been a very very long wait, but they are finally here!

Article posted on 17.07.2009

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