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This startling documentary takes a look at the uncompromising and sometimes cruel world of the children’s boxing scene in Cuba.
The Havana Boxing Academy is a Cuban boarding school that takes 9-year-old boys, and turns them into the best boxers in the world.
Sons of Cuba follows the stories of three young hopefuls through 8 dramatic months of training and schooling as they prepare for the biggest event of their lives so far: Cuba’s National Boxing Championship for Under-12’s.
But during the season, crisis strikes: Fidel Castro is taken ill, and one of Cuba’s Olympic boxing champions defects to the USA. The boys feel the national hurt and adjust to a changing world that sees Cuba at a crossroads.
This is a rare insight into Cuban culture what it takes to mould a Olympic champion. The children are put through a brutal training regime involving starving to reach a particular weight and lengthy exercise sessions that would leave most personal trainers on the floor begging for mercy.
The kids are the real stars of this film and we get see the heartbreaking highs and lows of their journey towards London 2012. The DVD package features a second disc stuffed full of extras with interviews with the director, a documentary about Cuban boxers in Miami, deleted scenes and a short film about the premiere of the film in Cuba. The DVD and the film pack a real punch and are well worth a watch.

Words: John Barker