If you thought it was difficult to be a female boxer where you are, imagine training to fight in a country where the sport is wildly popular and yet women are banned from competing. That's how it is for Cuban boxer, Namibia Flores.
Despite hailing from a country with a tremendous and proud boxing heritage, Flores has been unable to fulfill any dream of fighting for her beloved homeland. And while Cuba boasts more Olympic boxing gold medals than any other country, there's fading hope for Flores to be among the first Cubans to compete for women's boxing medals.
Recently, there have been discussions within the Cuban Boxing Federation to possibly allow women to compete, however it may be too late for Namibia to be an Olympian outside of Rio in 2016, as she is fast approaching the Olympic age limit of 40.
Six years ago, Pedro Roque, former Cuban Boxing Director (and current US Boxing Coach), spoke on the subject of women in boxing, saying "Cuban women should be showing off their beautiful faces, not getting punched...” This would seem to be the kind of sexist mindset that may be feeding the lingering attitude towards female boxing on the island nation.
Still, even after a recent visit to the US to support a documentary on her story, Boxeadora, Flores declined offers to fight in the US and returned to her home with faint hopes of Olympic glory. Even if she never makes it to Rio to compete herself, she is determined to do what she can to help future female Cuban fighters pursue the sport they love.