Olympic gold medallist Andy Cruz has left Cuba to pursue a career in professional boxing. Cruz is a three-time World Amateur Champion and is widely considered one of the hottest young talents in the sport.
The Cuban fights in the lightweight division and achieved an outstanding amateur record of 140 wins and only nine losses.
Check out the news reported by Michael Benson:
Olympic gold medallist and three-time World Championship gold medallist Andy Cruz has reportedly defected from Cuba, leaving the country in order to become a professional boxer in the near future. [According to @BoxeoCubanoCom]— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) June 20, 2022
Cruz’s first world championship victory came back in 2017 against Ikboljon Kholdarov in Hamburg. The Cuban defeated his opponent from Uzbekistan in a third-round unanimous decision.
The 26-year-old’s next world title came a couple of years later in 2019 against the highly rated Keyshawn Davis. In similar fashion, Cruz won via unanimous decision to claim the second world title of his amateur career.
Watch the fight highlights of Cruz vs. Davis:
The boxer from Matazanas, Cuba’s third and final amateur championship was in 2020 when he faced Davis again in the finals of the 2020 Olympics in Japan. This time, he won via split-decision against his rival.
Cruz has not fought since November 2021 when he surprisingly lost against Delano James in Rotterdam via split decision.
Can Andy Cruz follow in the footsteps of other professional Cuban boxers?
Andy Cruz is set to become the next Cuban to compete as a professional and will join the likes of Luis Ortiz, Yordenis Ugas and Erislandy Lara. Both Lara and Ugas have won world titles and it remains to be seen if Cruz can do the same.
Ugas was recently stopped by Errol Spence Jr. in a welterweight unification contest. However, he is still considered one of the best fighters at 147 lbs.
Meanwhile, Lara knocked out Gary O’Sullivan back in May to retain his WBA Middleweight Championship. ‘The American Dream’ is also famous for his split decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2014, which many thought he won.
Now in the twilight stages of his career, Guillermo Rigondeaux is another extremely successful Cuban boxer who Cruz could emulate. Rigondeaux still has one of the best amateur records of all time and, like Cruz, won multiple gold medals at the Olympics.
Time will tell which promotional outfit Cruz decides to sign with and if his professional boxing debut takes place soon. Regardless, this is another phenomenal addition to the highly talented roster at 135 lbs.