Planting dreams, reaping victories

18/07/2017 – Two time Brazilian boxing champion, Roberto Custódio, started his boxing career at Fight for Peace in Rio de Janeiro 16 years ago. As he embarks on a new path as a boxing coach to the next generation, he reflects on how his life has come full circle.

Roberto began boxing at Fight for Peace in 2001, a complete beginner who took inspiration from the champions at the Rio Academy at the time. Boxing came naturally to the young Complexo da Maré resident, and he rose through the Fight for Peace ranks quickly, driven to go far in the sport.

Having overcome the initial setback of breaking his arm in 2006, he travelled to his first international competition in Northern Ireland at the age of 18. In the same year, he lost in the final of the Golden Gloves championships in São Paulo, but, with the help and support of his coaches, he returned to win the competition three years on the trot, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The recognition he gained from this earned Roberto a call up to the Brazilian National boxing team, of which he was a member from 2008 to 2016.

Roberto’s travels around the world with the Brazilian national team – to the London Olympics in 2012 and to Cuba and Venezuela – saw him gain a range of life skills as well as develop as a boxer. The enriching experiences during these years changed the way Roberto saw the world, and this informs the way he teaches young people in his new role as a boxing coach.

Roberto left the Brazilian national boxing team in 2016 and returned to his home in Maré where he completed his education in order to go to university, and joined the army as a Sergeant. Since his return, Roberto has been dedicating himself to teaching and coaching young people and children at Fight for Peace, determined to pass on his experiences and support young people to thrive through boxing and personal development.

For Roberto, this represents the closing of a circle and the now veteran is relishing his role helping plant dreams and seeing those he coaches reap the rewards of their own dedicated work.