A page of history was turned in Aguascalientes (center): Cuban boxers were able to pocket bonuses, after having evolved in the amateur categories since Fidel Castro abolished professional sport in 1962, three years after the revolution.

But the boxers of the Caribbean island had worn their country's colors from a very high level at the world championships and the Olympic Games, winning 80 world titles among amateurs and 41 Olympic titles.

The other side of the coin: many Cuban boxers have deserted in recent years and gone to seek better fortune abroad.

On Friday, the Cuban delegation included six boxers including three Olympic champions (Julio César La Cruz, Roniel Iglesias and Arlen López).

Five of them won by knockout: Osvel Caballero (super featherweight) beat Mexican Jhosman Reyes;

Feliciano Yoenlis Hernández (super middleweight) defeated Mexican Juan Carlos Raygoza;

Roniel Iglesias (super-welter) won against Brandon Pérez, also Mexican;

Arlen López (light heavyweight) knocked out Mexican Fernando Galván;

finally, Julio César La Cruz (heavy-light) beat the Colombian Deivis Casseres.

Only Lázaro Álvarez (super-lightweight) had to wait for a unanimous decision from the judges to win against Mexican Francisco Mercado.

"This meeting will mark not only Cuban boxing, but also professional boxing, with six Cubans entering through the front door," commented Julio La Cruz after the gala.

© 2022 AFP