U.S. Olympic Boxers Go for The Gold

Interview with Shakur Stevenson

On the day Muhammad Ali passed away, we happened to be in the boxing gym of the Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs. Our mission was to capture footage of two young boxers heading for the Olympics - Shakur Stevenson, and Carlos Balderas.

The news of Ali’s passing spread quickly, but the boxers went about their business as Ali’s poster hung in inspiration on the wall outside their gym.

Shakur, a 19-year old bantamweight fighter, had secured his bid to the Rio Olympics in December 2015. By the time we met up with him in early June, his energy and excitement exploded out of him with every punch -  as we filmed him working out and sparring in the ring.

The challenge was to capture his movement and expressions - which we did mostly at high frame rates (to accomplish slow motion) with our Sony F55 Camera, and our new Canon 17-120mm cine-servo zoom lens. We filmed his interview with the Sony F55 and matching Sony F5 side by side, both equipped with Canon prime lenses.

Shakur is the oldest of nine children, and was named after rapper Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in Las Vegas following a Mike Tyson heavyweight title fight. He feels a tremendous responsibility to be a model for his younger siblings, and also his country. Some say he is the best hope for a resurgence of U.S. Boxing, who hasn't won a gold since 2004.

He was given a first round bye in Rio, so will compete this Sunday (8/14) in the Bantam Round of 16.

We also had the opportunity to shoot sparring and workout footage with Carlos Balderas, a 19 year-old lightweight fighter for Team USA. Carlos (also spelled Karlos) is the son of Mexican immigrants, and the first in his family to be born in the United States. He's already proudly represented his home country and Team USA by winning his first two rounds at the Olympics with unanimous decisions.

Carlos's next fight is against Cuba's Lazaro Alvarez in the lightweight quarterfinals tomorrow (August 12th). A win here would ensure a medal for both Balderas and Team USA.

You can check out both of these features on Bleacher Report:

Shakur Stevenson

Carlos Balderas

Special thanks to USA Boxing for allowing us access, Carlos and Shakur for their tremendous patience (can you hit that again please? Okay just one more time...), our client Bleacher Report for the opportunity to work on this feature, and Cameron Lowder who came out to put it all together.

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Written by Thomas Miller, Copyright © 2016 Big PIctures Media, Inc