/ 2021 / Press /

The Cuban Boxers

  • Prize
    Gold in Press/Sports, 1st Place winner in Press
  • Photographer
    Shyamala Thilagaratnam
  • Credit
    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.

Shyamala is a doctor specialising in Public Health at the Health Promotion Board in Singapore. Photography has been a passion since she received her first camera - a gift from an uncle - when she was 14. She enjoys all genres of photography, but particularly enjoys telling stories using images - and continually learning new techniques to support this. Photography and the day job keep her happy in equal measure.

Awards IPA (1st in categories, Honourable Mention), BIFA (Silver, Honourable Mention), TIFA (Silver, Bronze, Honourable Mention), APA (Honourable Mentions), MPA Far East (Merit Awards), RISE International Photography Awards (Bronze Awards).