Cambodia's Child Boxers

Hannah Reyes Morales spent two years photographing young fighters as they trained for Cambodia's child-boxing circuit. Kun Khmer fighting is a traditional Cambodian sport that is seen as a path out of poverty for rural families. The boys, who are between the ages of 6 and 12, are considered “good mannered” and “more virtuous” in their communities and can earn $7 to $10 for victories. If they do well enough, they might be sponsored by a gym in the capital or in Thailand, and their training, education, food, and housing would be paid for. This is not lost on the young fighters, who train rigorously, Morales said. “I saw how they would switch between child and boxer,” she said. “As boxers, they are confident and fierce, and the next minute they would be children, giggling over marbles and excited to share their drawings with me.”

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