Exclusive: This young Cuban boxer hopes to make his legendary grandfather proud

Cuban boxer Jadier Herrera Montero. (Photo by Neeraj Murali)
Cuban boxer Jadier Herrera Montero. (Photo by Neeraj Murali)

Jadier Herrera Montero will face Mark John Yap of the Philippines at the People's Fighters event in Dubai on February 26


Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 4:39 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 4:57 PM

As a kid, Jadier Herrera Montero was inspired to get into the ring after he saw old TV footage of his grandfather in Cuba.

Until then, Jadier Herrera had no clue that Angel Herrera Vera, his grandfather, was a famous boxer of his time.

He knew that his granddad also boxed because his whole family was into boxing.

But until his first glimpse of his grandfather on TV, Herrera wasn’t greeted with his most glorious connection to boxing –that he was the grandson of a man who was received by none other than Fidel Castro upon his return to Cuba as an Olympic champion in 1976.

Ángel Herrera’s first Olympic gold (1976) came just three years after he started boxing in a local gym – not with the ambition of becoming a champion, but with the sole aim of having a girlfriend.

Since all boxing champions in his school bragged about their girlfriends, Ángel Herrera thought boxing was only the way to a woman’s heart.

But he ended up falling in love with the most brutal combat sport of them all before engraving his name on the boxing lore with two Olympic gold medals and two world championship titles.

Now the 19-year-old Jadier Herrera is dreaming to make the grand old man of his family proud.

“I became southpaw because of my grandfather. He was a southpaw,” Herrera, with a help of a translator, told us as he opened up on the influence his grandfather had on his boxing dreams.

Herrera’s own skills will be now on display in Dubai when he takes on Mark John Yap of the Philippines at the People’s Fighters event on February 26.

The rising star of Cuban boxing will take on Yap for the WBA Asia Super Featherweight title at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

“This is my first title fight, I am a little nervous. But I am going to give my best in the ring. I will give everything in the ring, my 100 per cent,” said Herrera who has won all of his first five fights in his fledgling professional career.

Unlike his legendary grandfather, Herrera is not nurturing Olympic ambitions.

“Since I was in school, this (professional boxing) was my big ambition. I was always dreaming to become a professional boxer,” he said unapologetically.

“My first dream is to be recognized in the whole world. I want to be a legend (in professional boxing)!”

“And my second step would be to help my whole family in Cuba.”

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