Andy Cruz: Boxing is my Life

Andy Cruz: Boxing is my Life
Fecha de publicación: 
14 September 2021
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It is being said that life is marked by fate and the case of this young man from Alacranes, Matanzas province, proves it right. There are people who are born to do something and have a purpose and a special luck. Andy’s is, for sure, boxing.

He began his boxing career at 10 in his hometown. He told me he was usually in trouble at school. But once he stepped into the boxing ring, well, say no more, he focused all that energy in there: “sports always dignify you and build self-discipline.”

Andy briefly tried swimming and karate but… “Every time I turned on the TV, the sports channel was broadcasting boxing: Mario Kindelán’s combats. He is my idol. And that is how I began in boxing in a sports facility here in my hometown Alacranes along with my first trainer, Gustavo Delgado and El Indio, who was also one of my first trainers. Thanks God I found boxing. Boxing is my life.”

From that moment on, Andy Cruz started to dream big: “Every athlete’s dream is to become one of the best of his country. Of course, it was my dream too. I have sacrificed a lot. Trainers already saw talent in me. They saw I had chances to achieve it, do it right and represent my country at the international level. And yes, it was not easy. But I was sure I could do it and you can see now the outcome. This is and will be the way I will do thing in my career.”

In fact, several people believe he is the best amateur boxer in the world. However, when we address this issue with him, he answers with humility: “I do really think that each athlete is the best in their division. I do try to be the best in my division. That is what I work for: winning. But well, everyone forms their own opinion.”

He has won everything or almost everything in boxing. But in Alacranes, he is still “The son of Vivian,” a humble and joyful man, very grateful:

“My mom had a great influence on me. I always say my mom is my best trainer. Besides, I also had the support of my dad, my brother, the people in Alacranes. They always follow my combats and saw me grow. Their support has been paramount in my development.”

As a young man, Andy enjoys sharing his leisure time with friends. He loves singing, playing soccer, dancing…But we need to talk a little bit more about this. We already knew about this hobby…:

“I always danced every time I finished off a combat since my early days in boxing. But as I grew up, I stopped doing it. I just won my combats and celebrated them normally, until I won the 2017 AIBA World Championship and my excitement was so big that I danced again. People liked it a lot and I cannot stop now doing it. It is something that comes from my heart. I let my emotions get the better of me and my body dances and flows. And this is it.”

That World Championship was one of the most challenging events Andy has ever faced: “My grandma passed away one week before the competition and it affected me a lot psychologically. I thought I was going to quit since I was feeling terribly. But thanks God and the support of people I could overcome the situation and won my gold medal.”

And you and me witnessed the biggest win of his young boxing career just a few days ago: at 1:30 am, the entire nation was waiting for Andy’s dancing skills at the Olympic Games: “I have no words to describe my feelings. But the truth is that it was huge! It is the dream of every athlete and also mine.”

Andy earned and won his gold medal in Tokyo 2020 and closed Cuba’s performance. I was ready, but never over-confident:

“I knew a lot of people felt I was going to win. But ultimately, it is me the one who need to step in. I cannot let the people of Cuba down, nor myself, as I also felt I could do it. So I went out there trusting on myself and do my job and get the medal the Cuban people and me were waiting for.”

On the strategy that has helped build his successful career, he said: “To win my combats, I firstly study my opponents to know his virtues and flaws and then I focus on their flaws. I figure my fight out according to what my opponents propose.”

In Tokyo 2020, the Tamers were again the flagship of our sport delegation. But this feat is actually impressive under present circumstances:

“It was a tough cycle due to Covid-19. But it also made us get closer, as the family we are. And despite having not so many national or international competitions, we could carry out a pretty good training base. We were great physically. We just needed to improve some technical details, which paired with our skills, we already knew we were going to be ready pretty quickly. You saw the results in the Olympic Games.”

Within three years, Andy's dancing moves to Paris and he hopes the Cuban people trust him again and “fight with him along the way.”

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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