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Bronze 2021 Editorial / Photo Essay

Cuban Boxers

  • Prize
    Bronze in Editorial / Photo Essay
  • Photographer
    Shyamala Thilagaratnam

The famed Cuban boxing culture is kept alive by coaches who were once champions in their younger days. The gyms have seen better days, as have the worn gloves and the battered boxing ring. Little boys as young as 6 stream in to the rundown compound after school for their training. As one of the coaches said, “It keeps them off the streets”. Training is serious, each boy intent on being the next Cuban boxing star. But the real drama happens in the streets of Havana where bets are laid, and where everyone is a coach, shouting out instructions as teenage boys viciously slug it out.

A public health physician in Singapore, my day job and photography keep me happy in equal measure.