Robeisy Ramirez, the only man to win boxing gold at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, left the national team during a training camp in Mexico, according to Cuba’s national sports institute.
“Attitudes like this are far from our values and the discipline that characterizes our sport,” the Cuban sports institute read, adding that Ramirez was “turning his back” on his teammates, according to a Reuters translation.
Ramirez, then 18, became the youngest Olympic men’s boxing champion in 32 years when he won the flyweight division at London 2012. He moved up to bantamweight in Rio and beat American Shakur Stevenson in that final, becoming the eight Cuban boxer to earn multiple gold medals.
Ramirez was an underdog at both of his Olympics, having lost in the round of 16 at the 2011 World Championships and been off the national team for six months in 2014 and passed over for Cuba’s spot at the 2015 Worlds.
Ramirez joins a long list of star Cuban athletes to leave the national team or defect. Joahnys Argilagos, a 2016 Olympic light flyweight bronze medalist and two-time world champion, reportedly left the national team in March, also while in Mexico.
Ramirez would be free to turn professional if he’s no longer with the Cuban national team, rather than pursue a third gold medal at Tokyo 2020.
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
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