— Published 17 May 2023

Cuba loses world champion

Cuban boxing has just lost a new athlete. Not the least, since it is the only gold medallist at the recent Olympic boxing world championships, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Yoenlis Hernandez (pictured above), 25, who was crowned world champion last week in the middleweight division, took advantage of the trip back to Havana to defect. The announcement was made by the Cuban Boxing Federation (FCB). “The two-time world champion refused to continue the journey to Havana on the way back to his homeland, which implies his break with the national team,” the federation said in a statement. At the 2023 Men’s World Championships, the Cuban team won six medals, but only one gold. Yoenlis Hernandez’s escape is the biggest loss to the sport since the defection last year of Olympic and three-time world champion Andy Cruz. More than 100 top athletes have left the country in recent years, including Olympic medallists Ismael Borrero (wrestling), Fernando Dayan (canoeing) and Yaimé Pérez (athletics).