Hidden in the heart of Old Havana, a small outdoor boxing facility has seen the blood and sweat of some of Cuba’s most prominent national champions. It’s makeshift bleachers and limited equipment gives it a beat-down appearance, but El Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael has helped craft a unique style of boxing that only the country’s top contenders have perfected.
“They’re light on their toes, light shoulders…It looks almost like a dance, but that’s their technique—they’re always making their opponent tired,” says Basecamper, Rodrigo Garcia.
In this episode, Travel Basecamp brings viewers to the rustic boxing ring in Havana where the team tests their skills and get up-close and personal with some of Cuba’s most feared boxing medalists.
One champion in particular, however, truly stands out.
Namibia has trained her way to the top, sacrificing a social life along the way, and in a nation that restricts women from entering the ring, she is currently the only female boxer in Cuba’s vigorous sport. “She looks badass,” says Basecamper Sarah Bobas with a laugh.
After hours of chats, laughs, and practice punches Sarah and Namibia finally take to the ring in a sweat-drenched match—it being Sarah’s first game, and Namibia’s first time fighting another woman. Despite the rough hooks being thrown left and right, the two emerge with nothing but an inspirational bond that’s rooted in their fiery ambition for adventure.
“Training Like a Champ” is the third episode in Travel Basecamp’s Havana and Varadero series, and as in previous episodes, they push the limits of travelling in a country that thrives on resort-confined tourism. Basecamping, as they put it, is, “Hacking the all-inclusive resort concept by treating the resort like a basecamp for your suitcase, but breaking beyond the gates to discover local culture.”
If you enjoyed this video, head over to Travel Basecamp’s website to see the team jump out of a plane, teach English to kids, and plunge into Cuban waters under the light of the moon!
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For more information, visit www.travelbasecamp.com.