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Famous local boxer Johnny Tapia honored on Saturday

Emily Jaceks
September 23, 2017 10:32 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – If there’s anyone who loved a good celebration, it was famed Albuquerque-bred boxer Johnny Tapia.

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The 5-time boxing champion on Saturday received a tribute fit for the local hero when the Well Park Community Center at Fifth and Mountain was officially renamed the Johnny Tapia Community Center at Wells Park.

Walk inside the center, and you’ll find a new monument honoring the boxing great.

“Oh, he’d love it,” said Teresa Tapia, Johnny Tapia’s widow. “Johnny loved attention. He’d love everything about it. I think it’s awesome.”

Hundreds were on hand for the unveiling as well as the main event: A boxing match in a makeshift ring between Tapia’s two sons.

But before that, some young fighters inspired by Johnny Tapia and his legacy had their chance to rumble in the ring.

“He gave me confidence in how he used to fight. I take some of his fighting in how I box,” said Ivan Watchman.

A concert featuring several New Mexican musicians wrapped up the event.

“It’s good to see people still support Johnny,” Teresa Tapia said. “He loved New Mexico, and they still reciprocate that. It’s a pleasure to see that.”

Johnny Tapia was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June. Another celebration will be held Sunday honor the boxer’s world-class achievements in the sport.

Credits

Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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