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August 12th, 2009
Victory Is Your Duty
Where Are They Now?

CRISTIAN MARTINEZ: Since the dramatic championship match of 2007 depicted in Victory Is Your Duty, Cristian has gone on to win National Championships in 2008 and 2009, making him one of the most exciting young prospects in Cuban boxing. If he continues on this path, he could be invited to join the senior national team by 2011, when he’ll be only 16 years old. Cristian continues to have a close relationship with his father, the Olympic boxer Luis Felipe Martinez, despite Luis Felipe spending long stretches of time working as a coach abroad, most recently in Mexico.

SANTOS URGUELLES: Santos still dreams of being a boxing star, but his career has not progressed with the same speed as Cristian’s. The year after Victory Is Your Duty was filmed, he remained at the Havana Boxing Academy for young boxers, while Cristian graduated to the Under 16 Academy, known as the EIDE. Santos moved on to the EIDE the following year, but has yet to participate in a National Championship. His family continues to struggle financially, although they were recently able to purchase their first television. Santos misses his next door neighbor and hero, Olympic champion Yan Barthelemy, who defected to the U.S. during the shoot for Victory Is Your Duty. But Barthelemy has not forgotten him. While shooting the 2009 update to the film in Miami, we recorded a personal message from Barthelemy to Santos.

YHOSVANI BONACHEA: Bonachea continues his work at the Havana Boxing Academy, where he has coached his team to National Championship victory for three consecutive years. He still struggles to provide the boys with the equipment they need, but is unable to do this out of his own pocket. Bonachea dreams of the chance to take a coaching job abroad because of the higher salary he could earn.

In April 2009 the feature-length version of this film, Sons of Cuba, premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film festival in Durham, North Carolina. The festival offered to fly out the boys and Bonachea. This would have been the first time out of Cuba for all of them and the prospect generated considerable excitement. Sadly, visa complications got in the way, and they were unable to travel to the U.S. This was a big disappointment for all involved.

  • Rick LUJAN

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