Friday, March 6, 2015

A Cuban's woman battle against the boxing ban on women

If you have even a passing interest in men's amateur boxing you will know the Cubans are simply the best. But I'm ashamed to say when I went to the London Olympics in 2012 to see the first ever women's bouts, I did not notice there were no women from Cuba. 

American documentary film-maker and boxer Meg Smaker has been putting me right: Women's boxing is banned in Cuba. Yes, in the sweet home of some of the best fighters you'll see in the ring, only boys can compete. 

When women's boxing was added to the Olympic list, Cuban head coach Pedro Roque was quoted as saying Cuban women "are made for beauty and not to take blows around the head".  

Smaker sent me this trailer for her powerful documentary "Boxedora" on fighter Namibia Flores. She said: "Namibia trains at a fight club in Havana. She is still in Cuba, we are currently trying to get her a visa for the States."

In the trailer Flores comes across as a strong and skilful boxer, working the bag and the pads with power and swift movements. I can only imagine her frustration as she trains and trains and trains with no end in sight.

I'll be keeping in touch with Smaker and hopefully we can at some point bring you news that Flores gets to take part in the Golden Gloves or in any bout. Promoters - are you listening? 

UPDATE:  April 3rd blogpost : Cuba's only female boxer leaves the country. 

Boxeadora (Official Trailer)- a short documentary by Meg Smaker (Trailer Co-edited with Katherine Gorringe) from Meg Smaker on Vimeo.

As an aside Smaker's Vimeo profile also includes this 13-second clip of  the award-winning filmmaker herself getting hit "really hard" as she puts it. 

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