12 March 2009 – By Padraig Hoare
Gary Hyde claims that Olympic legend Guillermo Rigondeaux will not be allowed to fight in America as a professional for the foreseeable future because the Cuban has an existing contract with him.
The Florida State Boxing Commission will, according to the Cork businessman, decline the bantamweight superstar a licence to box, with the ruling body allegedly already indicating that it will uphold Hydes claim on Rigondeaux.
Southpaw Rigondeaux, who dazzled the boxing world winning gold in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, created world headlines last month when he fled his native Cuba to turn professional.
He was denied a place in the 2008 Olympics because of a previous aborted attempt at defection in 2007. On February 23 this year, the knockout artist turned up in Florida after finally fleeing the Communist regime. It was expected that he would turn professional under the Arena Box banner, with fellow countrymen Odlanier Solis and Yuriorkis Gamboa. That move has allegedly been put on hold.
Gary Hyde told irish-boxing.com that he had signed a pre-contract with Rigondeaux prior to Arena Box, and that he expected it to be upheld all around the world.
I spent my time, money and huge efforts into signing Guillermo and there is no way I would leave him box for someone else. He was happy to sign, with his contract and image rights belonging to me. It was a very lucrative deal,” he claimed.
I was assured that he would not be signing for anyone else. I contacted the Florida State Commission and was given a cast-iron guarantee that Rigondeaux would not be granted a licence to box until it is sorted out with myself. Furthermore, the commission intimated that no other governing body would grant a licence for the same reason.
Hyde added that he was not interested in selling the former world champions contract to another promoter.
I want him to fight in Ireland and England, like he was happy to do when we signed first day. We already have three world-class prospects in Alexei Acosta, Luis Garcia and Mike Perez and I want Guillermo to be the same. They want for nothing, have the best training and facilities in Newcastle and Cork, and Guillermo will be treated with the same high standard of care.
There was no comment available from Arena Box Promotions at this time.
Rigondeaux is considered to be pound-for-pound one of the all time greats of amateur boxing. He is, at 28, a latecomer to the professional game.
Meanwhile, Hydes three Cuban sensations will box in Newcastle again on April 18.