“I wanted something different for my life,” the 25 year old Cuba native Luis Pita Oliva says, in answer to the query: how and why did he choose boxing.
“I didn't want to be like anyone in my family. I didn't want to be a conformist, I don't want to live in a country where you can't have anything, where to have a lot is a crime, where thinking different is wrong, where you have to be like the others.”
He spoke of these feelings in Part 1.
His “senior year” of “high school,” Luis went into his room and meditated on it for three days.
“I decided to take the reins of my life. I would work full time to get the funds to leave. I took out a sheet of paper and put down the highest paid jobs and told my mom that I didn't want to live in Cuba anymore, that I couldn't stand a minute more in that country and she started laughing in my face and said, ‘I don't have money to give you.’
“She got 100 and 200 dollars a month. I knew it and knew some businesses that she had. I knew that I could never count on her, so it wasn't new that she said no, she's one of those people who don't want others to have more than her.
So I called friends, and asked them if they needed an assistant or if they knew about a job, everyone said no.
The only option was to go to the street so I went to the busiest street in my city and I started construction work. There were hard moments of pain because the other jobs I had were nothing compared to that but my goal was bigger than any pain, so the first days I thought that I wouldn't stand it.
I did, I asked for all the overtime at work because life is a race against time and I was always looking for a way to make money.
I sold all my things, my television, my clothes, etc and with that money I realized at six months I already had the money for the ticket.
I looked on the map, I looked for where I could go. The best options was Trinidad and Tobago, Russia and Guyana, but I decided Guyana because it had a border in case at some point I wanted to move somewhere better.
I left Cuba in December 2017 but I no longer had in mind to box.
I no longer had anything that would tie me to boxing, only the promise I made to my coach when he told me among many of our conversations, he said that I would have to endure, to resist and fight for what I want, to never lose faith.
I arrived in Guyana and after three days I saw that it was not an area that I liked so I went to the country on the Suriname side, a quieter and safer country.
I started working in a casino, then at a gas station, then in a restaurant with Surinamese people, and more.
I decided to go to Brazil, there I had an acquaintance and when I arrived the things were not like she told me.
I only ate mangoes to be able to save money and go to the next city of Brazil, Manaos. I was in Boa Vista at that time, I didn't know anyone in the next one. I was going through places where people disappeared and I was alone against the world.
There was nothing for me there, so I traveled to Peru. I didn't have money so for a time I had to sleep on the street in a super dangerous neighborhood.”
A low note—when his brother and mom wrote to him, that he was a bad son, that he was a bad brother who didn't remember anyone.
Luis continues: “I'm one of the people who solve my problems alone. I also felt better because I didn't feel anyone's pressure, because everyone calls to tell you about their problems but who solved mine?
Because while everyone criticized that I forgot everyone, I was on the street, getting cold, without food or a coat.
So—I worked, filled sandbags and while looking for another job, I saw a boxing gym.
I hadn't been boxing for a long time but I thought they need an assistant or a cleaning person, so I go in and ask him if he's looking for workers and he says no, why you ask me.
I told him about Cuba and he tells me you like boxing? I told him something more or less and he puts me to the test and he liked what he saw, so he told me I want you to train in this gym.
I began to make myself known, the support of so many Peruvians began to motivate me again. I started to explore Peru, to travel and the name of Luis Pita continued to grow.
I won the championship, gold gloves, the number one competition in Peru and my self-esteem was coming back.
I felt motivated and hungry for greatness and they wanted me to be part of the national team and represent Peru, but the world had already given me many teachings and money is too important.
Money can buy lives. Money can buy time, change your life, save you, bury you, everything walks and revolves around money and anything you want, you need money, so always the money first.
I asked what they offer for me, if I went to the Olympics maybe an apartment and I said no, that I would only train to be a professional.
I went to the professionals in the area and I told them that I wanted and they told me that they didn't like me to box for the professional side. I told them to give me a chance, I would enter as cannon fodder until I showed my contribution.
Bookmark us, and check back for Part 4, as Luis makes the move from Peru, to America.