Sports Outside the Beltway

Two-time Olympic Champion boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux defects

He won Bantamweight gold medals in both 2000 and 2004. From AP-

Former Olympic boxing champion Guillermo Rigondeaux defected to the United States, 18 months after he was kicked off the Cuba team as punishment for a previous defection attempt.

Farah Colina said Tuesday her husband had no choice but to flee Cuba if he wanted to box again.

“I’m surprised on one level because he left home at the end of January saying he was going to Santiago,” Colina said, referring to the eastern city that is Cuba’s second largest. “But, on another level, I think he was obligated to do this.”

Luis de Cubas, an agent for Arena Box Promotions in the United States, confirmed that Rigondeaux was in Miami and interested in fighting. The 28-year-old boxer won bantamweight gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

Colina said her husband called a neighbor Saturday to say he made it to Miami. The family does not have a phone. She declined to describe his journey to the U.S., but said he sounded happy and nervous on the phone.

While Rigondeaux came to the US in an illegal fashion, he’ll be granted asylum here. Since the Clinton adminitstration the policy known as dry feet wet feet has in place. The boxer made it solid US soil, he gets to stay.

It comes as no surprise that conditions in Cuba haven’t changed under Raul Castro. Even if the Castros fell and a democratic government took its place, the island country will hardly be a prosperous paradise for those living there for some time.

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