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Cuban boxer with two Olympic gold medals leaves national team

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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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Boxer Muhammad Ali banned

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British Olympic boxer Muhammad Ali was provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned steroid on April 21, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) said Thursday.

The case is now in the hands of an AIBA anti-doping panel.

Ali, 21, gained attention after qualifying for the Olympics last year because he shares a name with the legendary American boxer.

Ali, who was born in 1996, the year the other Ali lit the Olympic cauldron, lost his opening flyweight bout in Rio.

“When people used to mention about my name, at first I was like, ‘They are at it again,'” Ali said in February 2016, according to the Yorkshire Post. “But now I am just getting used to it.

“It doesn’t bother me, and I have just got to go out and perform and show them that I am half decent. Hopefully I can be half as good as the real Ali one day.”

Ali is a 2014 Youth Olympic bronze medalist and a 2015 European silver medalist in the 52kg division. He lost in the quarterfinals of the 2015 World Championships.

Ali also grew up training in the same gym as 2004 Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan.

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Andre Ward, last U.S. man to win Olympic boxing gold, retires

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Andre Ward, the only U.S. male boxer to win Olympic gold in the last 20 years, is walking away from the sport at the top of his game.

Undefeated. A world champion. Arguably the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.

“All I want to be is an Olympic champion. All I want to be is a world champion. I did it,” a voice appearing to be Ward’s said in an online video.

Today is the first day since 1952 that there are zero active male U.S. Olympic champion boxers. Claressa Shields, gold medalist in London and Rio, is now a professional fighter.

Ward, 33, ended his career without a loss since the age of 13 but said the cumulative effect of boxing for 23 years started to wear on his body. He no longer had the desire to prepare the way he used to.

“My goal has always been to walk away from this sport and to retire from the sport and to not let the sport retire me,” Ward, nicknamed S.O.G. “Son of God,” said on ESPN. “I have that opportunity today.

“I know it’s time. I’ve studied retirements. … How they walked away, who came back and all these different things. I’ve talked to a lot of guys, and they’ve always told me, you’re just going to know when it’s time. Nobody else will know but you.”

At the Athens Olympics, Ward fought in memory of his father, who died of a heart attack in his sleep at age 45, two years before the Games. He blew a kiss to the roof on the medal podium.

“In the second round, I got thumbed in my eyes, and I saw a double [vision],” Ward said on NBC after the gold-medal bout. “I never experienced nothing like that before.”

Ward turned pro and went 32-0, winning eight world titles.

His last fight was a June 17 TKO of Russian Sergey Kovalev to retain his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles.

“I want to be clear – I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there,” Ward said in a statement on his website. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting.”

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