MIAMI – Cuban boxing champ Guillermo Rigondeaux, who tried to defect in Brazil during the 2007 Panamerican Games, recently arrived in Miami, El Nuevo Herald said on Monday.
Rigondeaux left Cuba, where he had been kicked out of the sport for his desertion attempt in Rio de Janeiro, and is now in South Florida with earlier defectors Yuriorkis Gamboa, Erislandy Lara and Odlanier Solis, according to the Spanish-language sister publication of The Miami Herald.
The fighter, 27, will continue his interrupted career as a professional once he completes all the residency requirements, Luis de Cubas, U.S. representative of the German company Arena Box Promotion, told the newspaper.
The German promoter currently represents boxers Gamboa, Lara and Solis.
"We want Rigondeaux to be part of Arena Box's group of fighters and to provide him with every chance of making his dream come true of being professional world champion," De Cubas said.
In August 2007, former Cuban President Fidel Castro denounced the attempted desertion by boxers Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux during the Panamerican Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Castro said at the time that neither would again be included on the national team because "the Cuban athlete who deserts his delegation is like a soldier who deserts his unit in the midst of combat."
After that episode, Cuba decided not to take part in the world boxing championship in the United States.
Rigondeaux, double Olympic and world champion, stayed on in Havana without boxing, while Lara left the island in 2008 to go to Germany, where he signed a contract with Arena Box, although he currently lives in Miami. EFE