by HFPA July 31, 2012

Boxing gloves donated by HFPA members have helped young Cuban boxers travel the long road from their spartan gym, where they train with used car tires instead of punching bags, to the  Olympic boxing ring in London.

The gloves, which were handed out as promotional media items for the movie The Fighter, were given by members to Havana’s Alberto Balado boxing school  where there are no fancy bags or weights and where  students build strength by lifting buckets filled with concrete and spar in a ring donated many years ago by Muhammad Ali when he paid the gym a surprise visit.
The gloves—and promotional robes also donated by the HFPA–are used by the junior classes as they spar and train with Olympic gold as their goal.

The methods have paid off because Cuba has  produced the most Olympic medals in the sport of boxing – 63 medals, total of which 32 are gold. Cuban boxers left the Beijing Olympics empty-handed but this year hopes rest on boxers like 18-year-old Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana to put the country back on the world boxing map.