Brazil… Oh beautiful Brazil! Warm weather, white sand beaches, delicious food and happy people. But it is not all about Samba and Caipirinha, boxing is also been present for several years and passing from generation to generation. Jabtojab went to a city called Rio Claro, Sao Paulo and had a talk with Bruno Macedo, one of the founders of boxing Club MM Boxe Rio Claro. Dive in!

Jabtojab: Talk to us about your relationship with boxing and how it all started…

Bruno Macedo: You can say that I was born into my love for boxing. My father, Marcos Macedo, was an amateur boxer in the 70’s, and when I was born in 1988, he was already a famous boxing trainer in Brazil. So, I spent my childhood in gyms and academies, and, at tournaments and boxing events. I got in the ring and started competing in 2003 at 15 years old. I became an amateur boxer in 2011, and since then I have participated in 54 boxing events. My love for boxing has stayed in the ring- I started coaching and sill love it to today; but I also brought the love outside the ring. The thesis for my university’s Master’s degree in History was all about Brazilian boxing- its history and impact on our society.

“My father, Marcos Macedo, was an amateur boxer in the 70’s, and when I was born in 1988, he was already a famous boxing trainer in Brazil”

Boxing gives children an opportunity to become athletes, but it also gives them access to culture, education, and social skills

How do you think boxing can help a child in Brazil? Brazil is a rich country for some, but there exists a lot of social and economic inequality with a lot of people living in very bad conditions. Boxing gives children an opportunity to become athletes, but it also gives them access to culture, education, and social skills by playing and interacting with others- all things they might not have access to otherwise.

One of my athletes from MM Boxe, Jhonatan Conceiçao, had a brother that was murdered by the police in 2016. If Jhonathan hadn’t chosen boxing as an outlet, he admits that he would have had the same fate as is brother, caught in a world of criminality and violent death. Jhonatan focused on boxing, became Brazilian champion

Take us through a story of a Brazilian boxer that started his life with difficulties and boxing saved him… Unfortunately, it isn’t hard to find the story of a boxer that had to experience a life of crime, violence, oppression, racism or inequality before becoming an athlete. One of my athletes from MM Boxe, Jhonatan Conceiçao, had a brother that was murdered by the police in 2016. If Jhonathan hadn’t chosen boxing as an outlet, he admits that he would have had the same fate as is brother, caught in a world of criminality and violent death. Jhonatan focused on boxing, became Brazilian champion and had the honor of representing his country in the 2017 AIBA World Championship AIBA in Hamburg, Germany. 

“Over the years, we have been happy to train more than 10 Brazilian champions”

How can boxing help Brazilian communities? Boxing offers them a semblance of structure, discipline, and proper human treatment. It teaches them the right values and makes them understand that they are just as important to society as anyone else.

Tell us a little bit more about the history of your boxing club. Our Club, MM Boxe Rio Claro started in 2003 in a city 180 km from the city of Sao Paulo. There was no boxing in the city, and it was my father who was the pioneer of the sport there. My brother, Leonardo, and me were the first boxers to represent the city, and we managed to win very important regional competitions. It became like the scene of Rocky running through the city of Philadelphia and all the kids started running behind him, because young children and teenagers from the city started to come train with us. So, we started training classes for them in different categories. Over the years, we have been happy to train more than 10 Brazilian champions and many others that have been invited to represent the national team. Some have participated in competitions around the world- the USA, Europe, and Asia. In 2017, my brother, Leonardo, was invited to represent the Brazilian national team and is now one of their main coaches. Leonardo is also dedicating the rest of his time to the Olympic team, so as of now, Club MM Boxe is under my direction and supervision, but Leonardo’s story is an inspiration to everyone at MM Boxe.

How do you think the Brazilian boxing style can help a professional boxer improve his or her abilities? Well, Brazilian boxing doesn’t have a specific style, but instead it is a mix of different styles. We have Cuban, American, Mexican and Argentinian influences… however, our boxing does have a lot of “ginga”! Ginga is a well-known Brazilian martial art called: “Capoeira” and that is incorporated a lot into our training to make our style different. 

Who are the biggest rivals of Brazilian boxers? The Cubans! For several years, our Olympic team was coached by Cuban nationals, and we admire their style. At the same time, our competitive side has created have a friendly rivalry. Our 2016 Olympic champion, Robson Conceiçao, beat Cuba’s, Lazaro Alvarez, in the Rio games. It was a historic victory that was celebrated by the whole country.

“Boxing is one of the most complete sports that exists. It stimulates the whole body, including your mind.”

Imagine you’re an adult that never boxed. Do you advise it? What are the benefits? Boxing is one of the most complete sports that exists. It stimulates the whole body, including your mind. It helps build coordination and a strong confidence in yourself. Its a model for good physical and mental health, and that’s why it is a worldwide sport.

People that look to do boxing and never had the courage, what advice will you give? A big number of persons think boxing is a violent sport, but to practice boxing you don’t even need to hit or been hit by somebody. On the other hand, competitive boxing it is an intense and dangerous sport, but as an amateur activity you don’t have any risk.