Dujaric: “It is about training their mind for the future”
In BOP faces we talk to local legends: the people of Punta Cana that make this place so special. In this edition: Dujaric. Also known as Maestro Dujaric. The boxing teacher that inspires young kids to stay off the street and use their talents for other means in his boxing school, Boxeo Punta Cana.
Early in the morning Dujaric (59) is normally up and running on the ranch in Punta Cana where he lives. He takes care of his horses, pigs, chickens and cows. When he needs some extra income, he sells one of the animals. He is self sufficient and that is just the way he likes it, because it gives him the time and space to help many kids stay off the streets. With his white cap that has the words KLK (que lo que, meaning what’s up), together with a white trainings outfit, paired with pilot sunglasses, he keeps up with the style of the youngsters today. Working with them in the Boxeo Punta Cana that he runs together with Felix Martinez keeps him young.
Helping kids on the street
“Yesterday, I took two boys off the street. You know the kids that try to clean your car window at the traffic light near to the Manitiales in Veron? I saw them nearly being ran over by a car. So, I went over to speak with them. Just to find out that their parents left them. So, I took them to my ranch and spoke to them about their future. In my garden I have plenty of Hamacas (hang mats) to sleep. So, they slept there. It is better than sleeping on the street. Because I have a big network in Punta Cana, I am looking around to see if one of my contacts needs extra help in their business. Whether it is cleaning or helping at a car repair company. Just something, so they can work there and do not have to work on the street,” a passionate Dujaric explains.
Helping kids is something that Dujaric is very passionate about. But the fact that he can combine it with his other passion which is boxing has truly been a blessing for him as he says himself.
Born as Andomio del Carpi, Dujaric grew up in Higuey. As the youngest of a large family he had to fend for himself. “In that time the streets were ruled by the strongest. You had to know how to defend yourself. By watching others do boxing and learning it on the street, I knew how to box by the age of 7. When I was 14 years old, I went to a community center where they taught boxing. There I really learned everything about the sport. I continued doing a lot of fights on amateur level. My name? My godfather worked for a man whose last name was Dujaric, and gave that name to me as a nickname,” Djuraric says.
Tragedy struck at the age of 23, when Dujaric had a motorcycle accident and broke his leg and collarbone and went into a coma. When he recovered he noticed that the friends and contacts that he made during his boxing years never returned his calls. It is then that he decided to quit boxing for two years. But the passion for the sport was still there. He made the choice to become a teacher for youngsters.
Start of Boxeo Punta Cana
“I started in Higuey with teaching boxing, but when I moved to Punta Cana 20 years ago I continued here. First, I taught kids boxing here in my ranch. It is not about the fighting it is about helping them make a mental change. Helping them to focus and see that there are other opportunities for the future instead of doing bad things on the streets. Not all the children we teach come from the streets. Some of them come from very good homes. We want the kids to grow together. One of the assignments I give the youngsters, is to run to the beach Sueno Caribe from my house. It is a 5-kilometer run. They need to bring me back a bottle of sand. Some make it, others don’t. It is about training your mind to persevere.”
“6 years ago, Felix Martinez and I decided to write to the Ministry of sports to get funding to open the Boxeo Punta Cana in Veron at the place where we are now. We have 35 boys and girls from the age of 9 to 18 years old, that follow classes.”
The boxing school runs mostly on donations from organizations. To get more funding for materials and cleaning they ask for a one-time payment of 1000 pesos when parents want their child to have classes. And there thinking about asking 50 pesos per class in the future so that they can buy more equipment.
“Every year we organize a tournament that is called Copa de Boxeo Punta Cana. All the fighters from different provinces come here. From San Pedro de Macoris to La Romana and many more. Last year we could not do it, because of insufficient funding. This year we want to organize it too. So, if people want to help with donations for shoes, uniforms, medals, or an award cup, they are more than welcome!” Dujaric explains.
Some great boxing talents got lessons from Dujaric at a young age and are now professional boxers.
“Alfredo Zapata. He is a professional boxer! Johan who lives in Miami was very good too, after an accident he decided to pursue a career in songwriting. It is not all about having a career in boxing but preparing them for success in their careers and other areas in their life.”
“My favorite place is the airport. I also live close to the airport. At night I see the lights of the planes go over my house. It is also the place where you welcome your family from abroad.”
“We want to reach more kids and that is why we have plans for starting a boxing school in Yuma. And grow even more in Punta Cana!”
Want to help Boxeo Punta Cana? Get in contact with them through Facebook.
Read more inspiring stories of people living in Punta Cana in BOP faces. Ready about Jenni and Jace who hang on to what they really enjoy doing, or Kelvin who gives kids opportunities to travel abroad for martial arts tournaments, and Nikolas who manages the firs cooking studio in Punta Cana.