Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Rafael Trejo Gimnasio de Boxeo, Old Havana
One evening in Havana, Mr Natty (a keen amateur pugilist) and I took a visit to the famous Rafael Trejo boxing gym. Armed only with a scrawled note of the gym's name and my blind faith that Natty actually had a clue, we hailed a cab. Unfortunately it wasn't a cab. It was some poor Cuban chap who was merely dropping some friends off in front of the Capitolio. We mistook him for a taxi driver. The unfortunate fellow then had to listen to a mixture of, firstly, English and, latterly (after he explained his grandmother was from Genoa), Italian to direct him to our fabled destination.
Once there we met the lovely Lucia who is, in her own words 'The Boss' and Alberto, a great heavyweight of a coach who devotes most of his time to training the next generation of Cuban hopefuls. He looked as hard as they come, but then he did live in Newcastle and South London for a bit. Anyway after much Mr Natty patter and a fair donation to help buy equipment we were invited in to have a look around and watch the kids train. Mr Natty also donated some boxing gloves that he had bought from a local street hawker. It was a nice gesture, but they had the exact same ones in the gym and it just looked as though he was returning them. He probably was.
The light was falling very fast when we arrived, it was a beautiful evening and the little guys were really being put through their paces. A couple of them were like lightning and it was a job to keep up with them even at 1200ISO. Anyway here are a few shots to give you a flavour. It was a real pleasure to meet Alberto and Lucia and hear about their passion for the gym. You can tell it's a real release for the young lads who train there and they go about their training with gusto. They might not have much but they've got what you can't buy... a lot of heart. Saying that, they could still do with gumshields, gloves etc. So if you find yourself in Old Havana be sure to drop in and drop something off.