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Whereabouts of Cuban boxers Rigondeaux, Cuadras unknown

7/23/2007 - Boxing

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Cuba's two-time Olympic boxing
champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and a teammate who left the athletes
village did not show up for their scheduled fights at the Pan
American Games on Sunday.

Rigondeaux failed to make the weigh-in for his quarterfinal bout
against Mexico's Carlos Cuadras in the bantamweight division, while
Erislandy Lara didn't appear for his fight against Jamaica's
Ricardo Smith in the welterweight division.

"They left the village and haven't returned," said Pedro
Roque, coach and chief of Cuba's boxing delegation, stressing that
it was all he knew.

He learned about the boxer's absence Sunday morning, but would
not comment on whether they had deserted.

"Everything is possible in life," he said.

Bienvenido Solano of the Dominican Republic, a technical
director for the boxing competitions, earlier said the boxers
"didn't show up for the weigh-in, we don't know why."

Both fighters were disqualified and their opponents advanced to
the semifinals.

Rigondeaux holds the dual titles of Olympic and world champion
in the bantamweight class. He also won the Olympic gold in 2000.
Rigondeaux became Cuba's top competitive boxer with the retirement
of Mario Kindelan in 2004, and was looking for his third Pan Ams
title.

Last year, Cuban Olympic boxing champions Yan Barthelemy,
Yuriolski Gamboa and Odlanier Solis deserted during a trip to
practice in Venezuela. They fled to Colombia and then signed
contracts with German promoters in Miami.

The three won Olympic golds in Athens and were favored to repeat
their titles in Beijing next year.