ONE of the most exciting additions to professional boxing could be making his way to the sport. Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez has defected from his national team. The Cuban Sports Institute said that Ramirez had left the squad during a training camp in Mexico according to a Reuters report, “turning his back” on his teammates. “Attitudes like this are far from our values and the discipline that characterizes our sport,” it said.
Cuban boxers are not permitted to compete professionally, even though they do put a side into the quasi-pro league the World Series of Boxing, administered by AIBA.
Ramirez is one of the most gifted boxers in the amateur sport. He is a two-time, two-weight Olympic gold medallist. He dazzled at London 2012, winning gold when he was just 18 years old and along the way beating outstanding flyweights Andrew Selby and Michael Conlan.
Although he was not awarded the Val Barker trophy, Ramirez was one of the outstanding performers at Rio 2016. He met the highly touted American Shakur Stevenson in the 56kgs, winning an excellent contest well.
He has had a tumultuous relationship with the Cuban boxing federation previously, with issues flaring up between the two Olympic Games he competed in. “I kept thinking about all the people that supported me to get here, my family, my wife, my friends and they supported me not only through the good moments but through the bad. Since London, as those who have been following my career know, I have been sanctioned by the Cuban federation due to disciplinary problems. So I had to take a year off and that gave me time to mature and to think a lot about what I wanted to do and that is boxing,” he said after winning his gold medal in Brazil.
Still just 24 years, a powerful puncher, he has the physical strength and the superb style to be an excellent professional fighter. His amateur rivals, Stevenson and Conlan, are already exciting professional prospects, represented by US promoter Top Rank.
At the time of writing, his whereabouts were unknown.
Ramirez was one of the stars in an marvellous Cuban squad. One of his team-mates Joahnys Argilagos, himself only 21 years old and a two-time World gold and Olympic bronze medallist, reportedly has already escaped from the national team, leaving in March during a tournament in Mexico.