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Rio’s favela kids fight, crime-free, as boxing school…

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 6 – Kids surrounded by crime in Rio de Janeiro’s slums are throwing jabs again, off the streets, as a boxing school has reopened after pandemic lockdowns started easing in the Brazilian city.

“We saw our students getting involved in drug trafficking so we found ourselves in a position where we had to resume classes,” said Bruna Costa Mendes da Silva, who founded the school in the Morro do Tuiuti favela with her boxer husband as a refuge from crime and violence for local youth.

“But we’ve done this with all possible measures to protect the students and ourselves.”

Masks and social distancing are required of the more than 50 boys and girls, who learn skills only for defense in the project called ‘From the Hill to the Ring’ (‘Do Morro Para O Ringue’).

“I am going to study a lot and I am going to focus a lot – as much in boxing as in my schooling,” said student Marya Alexandra.

“I am going to get to the top and win! I am going to show the world that I am not just another girl called Marya.” (Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Richard Chang; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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