Amateur | Feature | Nov 11 2017

A tale of two countries: Cuba and Russia

Chris Kempson looks at the nations that still dominating world amateur boxing, Cuba and Russia
Cuba  |  World Series of Boxing

TWO countries, one a tiny Caribbean island nation with a small population; the other massive in area with a huge number of inhabitants have dominated the AIBA World Boxing Championships (formerly known as the World Amateur Boxing Championships). The Republic of Cuba (Cuba) has dominated the men’s championships and likewise the Russian Federation (Russia), the women’s event. Two nations who, in many ways could not be more dissimilar rule the roost in the world amateur championships boxing ring.

Nineteen men’s world championships have come and gone and the story has only ever been about Cuba; it seems it was ever thus. In nine women’s world championships, Russia has reigned supreme. Only a brave, nay, perhaps, only a foolish man would likely suggest that this order is about to change anytime soon.

What we will never know is, had Cuban women been allowed, first to box in their own country, and then internationally, what impact they may have had on past world championships. The Cuban ban on female boxers is still hard to comprehend, even today, and many of us, long for the day, when Cuban females will be allowed to strut their ring stuff on the global stage. This can only be good for our amateur sport. I only hope that it will happen while I can still write in these columns; although I will not hold my breath for this eventuality. That said, it is understood that the Cuban government continues to look at the medical implications for women’s boxing.