Friday, 16 March 2007

Smelters Boxers Shine On Cuba Tour

The NSC 'Smelters' amateur boxing club took a team of eight of it's
boxers to Cuba and trained at Havana's oldest boxing gym The Rafael Trejo

Said coach Garry Cave "We wanted to reward the NSC boxers for all the
hard work and dedication they'd put in so we decided to take them on a trip
of a lifetime. The Cubans are without doubt No 1 when it comes to amateur
boxing, winning bags of medals in the Olympics, so the destination was obvious.
The club paid half the cost of the trip by raising money from their Manor
Farm FC and Avonmouth Rugby Club boxing shows plus we had many generous
sponsorship donations. A real big thanks you to everybody that made
this happen, as without your very generous support we couldn't have done it.

In the party was Garry Cave Team Manager, John Mathews Vice Club
Chairman, Jeff 'The Frogman' Sharp Coach, Tom Cave Boxer, Tom Edwards Boxer,
Smokin Joe Burns Boxer, Sam Mogg boxer/coach, Andy 'The Bambino' Mogg boxer,
Billy 'The Gollum' Davis boxer? Reece 'The Ratboy' Godfrey boxer and Dalton
'The Pineapple Kid' Saunders boxer. We stayed at Havana's oldest hotel The
Inglaterra Hotel famed for Ernest Hemmingway and it's old world charm.
The trip was organised through specialist boxing travel agents Cityboxer
Web: .

Flying from Gatwick after an early pick up from Avonmouth Rugby Club on
Wednesday the 29th of November at 4:30am and after 24 hours of travel
we arrived safely, if not a little jaded. Training began brightly and
early the next day at 8am in the gym under guidance from Head Cuban Coach
Pedro Massiano. The Smelters where warmly welcomed by all the Cuban coaching
staff and boxers. The language barrier was the first issue but thankfully one
of the Smelters junior boxers Tommy Edwards spoke some Spanish so this
made things a lot easier for the Bristolian boxers and the Cuban coaches.
We trained everyday in the gym at 8am till 10am for 6 days. The
training centred on the footwork techniques that the Cuban boxers are renowned

After a few of days of practice, some friendly gym bouts where arranged
between the NSC and The Trejo Boxing Club. Said coach Cave "We really
thought that the Smelters lads would get a boxing lesson from their
Cuban counterparts, but to be fair to the Cubans, they matched our boxers up
fairly and surprisingly to us and mostly the Cubans, the NSC boxers
more than held their own and in some of the 'bouts' had the upper hand.
The Cuban coaches praised our boxers for their skillfulness and
toughness. The day was topped off with a team trip to the Santa Marie beach. The
whole party where stunned by the beauty of the beach, it was like being in a
paradise picture postcard. Sunday we watched a junior championship of
some 42 bouts where many national champions competed.

The poverty in Cuba was very evident and our boxers eyes where opened
to just how lucky they really are, as many of the Cuban boxers didn't even
have training shoes, some where boxing in slip on shoes! We took lots of gum
shields and hand wraps to give out in the gym and they where very greatly
received. They showed us the tyre and sledgehammer strength training
they're famed for, which is basically hitting an old truck tyre with a large
sledgehammer and in return we showed them a few tricks with the
skipping rope. The Cuban people where lovely, very welcoming and always willing
to chat.
It wasn't all boxing we also went on some site seeing tours and took in
the Capitalio building, which houses the Cuban National Arts Museum. This
is an exact full size replica of the White House building in Washington. We
used it's many steps in the evening for some extra training much to the
amusement of the locals as well as taking on them on at football in the nearby
park. Across the road is the Kid Chocolate Sports Arena named after Cuba's
first world champion .The Kid Chocolate hosts many sports and on our visit we
where lucky to get a game of football against a local school class that
we're using it for their PE lesson. Fidel Castro also obliged by having
his 80th birthday celebrations, so Havana was buzzing all weekend, there
was the obligatory military parade in Revolution Square on Sunday, and we'd
never seen so many people in uniform!

I was very proud of how they boxed and conducted themselves during the
whole of the trip. It was so successful and rewarding that we're planning to
go again this year in November again with Cityboxer, taking even more NSC
boxers and boxing the Trejo club in a real tournament.
To raise money towards this trip we will be hosting the following
boxing shows, Saturday 17th of March joint open show with Empire ABC at
Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre & Thursday 26th of April at Manor Farm FC. Since
returning from the trip two NSC boxers that went have boxed with both
winning, they are Junior Middleweight Joe Burns winning by 1st round
RSC at the Cinderford show on Saturday 13th Jan and senior welterweight Sam
Mogg boxing at Weymouth 20th Jan where he won a unanimous decision with his
educated pressure boxing over the more experienced Chris Siddons of Weymouth

If you would like to train for boxing the NSC ABC train five nights a
week, 7 till 9pm at their gym at the end of Barracks Lane, next to Avonmouth
Rugby Club for further details please contact head coach Garry Cave Mob 07876

Yours in sport.

Garry Cave