Luis Pita Oliva holds a 3-0 record as a pro, since debuting June 17, 2023 on a Reyes Boxing Promotions card in Massachusetts.
The man from Cuba is 25 years old, a super middleweight who has fought the world class titlist and fellow Cuban David Morrell.
Oliva, now making Massachusetts his home, has not fought monsters to this point, he’s not one of those amateur to pro rapid-advance types.
I may as well take the opportunity right here to address Luis, and apologize.
This piece was intended to be a straight-forward NYF PROSPECT WATCH column, and I sent Luis a pack of questions, via email.
I like doing that, because it allows for flexibility, I send the questions and you respond when you are comfy and feel like talking (or typing).
When Luis responded, it was right away clear that he wasn’t treating this process flippantly.
Our man went deep into his soul, actually, when describing where he came from, to now. It’s heavy stuff…
I edited it some for readability purposes.
“My name is Luis Alberto Pita Oliva,” he told me.
“I was born in the city of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, since I have memory I only wanted a normal life, that was my first dream.
“My first goal was to get out of the bubble of bad people that I had around me. I’m talking about family…there is nothing sadder than living the lives of other people, so that you can't be you, can't think or say what you want to say, that when things go well everyone says that it's a coincidence, that when ideas work everyone looks at you with a serious face.
“They threatened me in the ear.
“They spoke badly of me, that I wasn't going to be anyone, that I wasn't going to achieve anything in life, that I didn't look like them.
A Child Absorbs Beatings
“They hit me with the first thing I found with a belt. It was their favorite, along with a wooden board.
“Many times when I saw blood. What happened is that my mother saw my father in me.
“That's why he only treated me and my other brother like that, not because my Dad was twice as bad as her. He beat her every day.”
Luis says mom left when he was a year old. He recalls himself as an older boy, very scared and lonely.
Luis continues: “That feeling intensified at 8 years old. The week I spent from Monday to Friday with my mom and weekend with my dad in that time of my childhood. I always wondered where I wanted to be because I didn't know which of the two was worse and I thought I had to be on one side to be able to avoid at least one of the two.”
Examples of poor role modeling:
“My mom for interrupting a conversation threw my head against the ceramic in the bathroom toilet and my mom's friends criticized her, she said calmly that ‘I know how to raise my son.’
This would be referred to as a “complex trauma” situation, in some circles, I think.
“My dad is a man from the countryside and the people in the countryside think differently from the ones in the city. They think that everything is solved with blows,” Luis tells NYF.
“I was growing up with all that in my head but it was like my mind had no room for anything or to think about happiness or a life or the future. I was still with them and at 8 years old nothing had changed. I understood that I not only wanted to leave my house I wanted to leave the country.
“I wanted to start and make a new life with my own family, one with values and I promised myself that one day I would leave Cuba and I would never return for anything in the world because I would never return to a country where they made me feel so bad.
“I feel proud of my people and if I had to fight for freedom I would be the first but if not for that reason I would never return.
Collecting Money To Fund Departure
“At 12, I started working secretly to start collecting money to be able to leave the country but I had to say that I was going to play. I could only do it with my mom because my dad didn't let me leave the house.
“I had to be stuck my mom forbade me to have friends and going to play at friends’ place. I stopped seeing people.
Luis shares the cruel taunts: “Even your mom doesn't love you. And my dad, one of many times he arrives at night, drunk, and takes me by the neck and begins to squeeze me harder and harder.
”I start hitting him and kicking him because he was very strong and I was losing consciousness. He opened his eyes and let me go… but that moment made me feel bad because I couldn't change the reality of what I was living, what I had to endure. I didn't know if I would be alive to tell the story later.”
Then, some light shines through the dark murk of physical and verbal abuse.
“At 12, boxing comes into my life.”
Part 2 features more hard times within a harsh home life, a deepening bond with boxing, and a time for hope, as Luis’ dream begins to play out in a new place and head space