Why you have to catch Cuban Boxing fight night in Dubai

Island champs and more in the ring for People’s Fighters on Saturday, October 23

Fighters, Diaz, Ortiz and Rozik at the Conrad Hotel conference
Fighters, Diaz, Ortiz and Rozik at the Conrad Hotel conference

David Light

Published: Thu 21 Oct 2021, 1:30 AM

A Caribbean island steeped in vibrant and often turbulent history of which we’re all aware, you’ll perhaps be surprised to learn among modern day Cuba’s most celebrated exports (because we know Romeo y Julietas immediately came to mind) are actually expert doctors often helping the world’s poorest communities and boxers so deft they can usually be found storming Olympic qualifying groups or picking up belts across the world. It is the second group with whom we are most pressingly concerned given Cuban Boxing UAE is presenting its fighting best on Saturday evening in an event billed the ‘People’s Fighters’ at the Conrad Hotel Sheikh Zayed road from 6pm.

Featuring a host of Cuban talent, who during the pandemic made their way to the UAE to continue their training in first class facilities, the rounds will also include athletes from India and Ghana among other nations. Cubano names including promising up-and-comer Jadier Herrera and Elio Crespo will be displaying their homeland’s famed ‘beautiful’ boxing style under the watchful eyes of compatriots: legendary trainer Pedro Diaz and former world champion in two weight classes Guillermo Rigondeaux Ortiz, who consequently is also looking to set up a fight in Dubai in January.

“The People’s Fighter represents the commonality,” said Cuban Boxing UAE media and marketing partner Sanjay Raina when asked about the name for the 12-bout gathering at a Wednesday press conference at the Conrad. “It’s to get everyone included and that’s how it’s fought in Cuba: to make a platform on the ground level and build it up.”

“This Saturday I’m very excited to put on a good show,” said Indian boxer Faizan Anwar who will be taking on Octavian Gratii of Romania in a Super Welterweight match. “We’re going to keep it simple and you’ll see on Saturday what we can do.”

“”My dream is to be the champion of the world,” said confident youngster Herrera of Camaguey. “I am very comfortable with my teammates,” he added about his fellow Cuban contingent now living in Dubai and how different it was to now be based in the Middle East. “These are the family that give me strength.”

A question was then put to the panel, which also included media and marketing partner Raj Janardhan, Cameroon fighter Rolly Lambert Fogoum and Indonesia’s Resnu Sundava on whether institutions such as the Cuban Boxing Club UAE and occasions like People’s Fighter’s can foster more local talent. “100 per cent,” was the answer from Ortiz who was sat at the table before neighbour Diaz chimed in with: “What they’re doing here is extraordinary. I think this series comes with a great level to give good boxing to the community. In Dubai I have seen the great motivation you have for boxing.”

Tajik singer Abdu Rozik, who will be appearing at the fight on Saturday, was also in attendance.

What: People’s Fighters, 12-bout match with Cuban Boxing Club

Where: Conrad Hotel SZR

When: Saturday, October 23 6.30pm to 11.30pm

Tickets: 800TICKETS.com

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