TIFA 2021 Editorial / sports

The Cuban Boxers

  • Prize
    Silver in Editorial/sports
  • Photographer
    Shyamala Thilagaratnam
  • Technical Info
    Nikond810, Nikkor 28-300mm, Various Iso, Apertures, Shutter Speeds
  • Photo Date
    April/May 2017

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.

I'm based in Singapore, a medical doctor by training; photography and my day job at Singapore's Health Promotion Board keep me happy in equal measure. I love travelling - especially to off-the-grid places, where the wifi is weak.