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Three young people pursue their dream of success at the New York Daily News Golden Gloves, the biggest, most prestigious amateur boxing tournament in the world. Fairly conventional in approach, the film hits the expected beats of the sports documentary pretty squarely. What makes it so compelling to watch is the choice of characters and the examination of what, beyond sporting glory, they are actually fighting for.
Titus, a nice, churchgoing kid, is held up by his pastor as an example of the power of prayer. Failure in the ring will let down the whole congregation. Nisa, a single mum from the Bronx, is fighting for her son, and to prove a point to the inner-city kids she teaches – that girls are warriors who can do anything they set their minds to. And James, with his feral, pin-eyed glare and churning, explosive anger, is fighting to haul his family out of the extreme poverty that marked his childhood. And he’s fighting because the alternative, for broken boys like James, is a whole lot of trouble.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Cradle of Champions review – roll with the punches | Documentary films