Havana, the Cuban capital, is currently witnessing an unprecedented scenario with an energy, food, and social crisis casting a shadow over every corner of the city. In this challenging context, Italian photographer Luca Fontana finds a “beacon of hope,” as he describes it. It’s the young boxers of the Boxing Club Rafael Trejo that Luca chooses to immortalize during their training sessions. Fontana’s photo series, titled “Boxing Club Rafael Trejo (Havana – Cuba),” provides the audience with a different perspective. The willpower and resilience demonstrated by these young individuals testify to their desire for redemption and to build a brighter future, steering clear of criminal activities. «With the growing wave of poverty, it’s easy for a young boy to be enticed by the unhealthy and illegal temptations that crime offers,» Luca tells us. «In Cuba, boxing is one of the most practiced sports, right after baseball; places like this open-air gym, located in a courtyard in the heart of the city’s most degraded streets, ensure that young people of all ages have an outlet and, above all, a healthy vision for the future.»
Fontana’s photographs capture the essence of the Boxing Club Rafael Trejo. Here, young people of all ages gather for training, alongside occasional tourists passing through the club. The images bear witness to the hard work and dedication of the young boxers, coached by more experienced figures from the area. Despite limited resources, the youngsters learn not only the techniques of boxing but also fundamental values such as the importance of education, ethical behavior, and the necessity of having a goal in life. The Boxing Club Rafael Trejo thus becomes not only an open-air gym but an authentic social haven. At a time when many people seek solutions abroad or embark on risky paths to leave the country, this club stands as a testimony to hope and resilience.
Le immagini di Fontana catturano il dinamismo e la passione dei giovani atleti, trasmettendo un messaggio potente di resilienza e forza in mezzo alle avversità. Mentre la crisi cubana si fa sentire, il Boxing Club Rafael Trejo continua a essere un punto luminoso di determinazione e orgoglio per la giovane generazione di L’Havana.
Ph credits & courtesy Luca Fontana