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Cuba lifts 60-year ban on professional boxing

Several of its amateur stars will likely make their pro debuts on May 20th

Boxing - Olympics: Day 16 Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

For the first time since 1962, Cuban fighters are free to compete professionally without needing to defect. ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez reports that the nation’s boxing federation lifted the 60-year ban after striking a deal with Golden Ring promotions, which will host a May 20th show in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Said show tentatively features some of the country’s brightest stars, including Tokyo gold medalists Julio Cesar La Cruz, Arlen Lopez, Roniel Iglesias, and Andy Cruz.

This is a massive deal, finally allowing athletes from one of the most talent-rich countries on the planet to be compensated for their craft without risking their lives and those of their families to do so. It also works out well for the amateur program, as there’s now far les risk of their powerhouses making a break for it during international events.

I’m not sure how far this will go, but if the fighters to indeed have the freedom to pursue proper pro careers, we’re in for an absolutely brutal influx of talent.