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Home MMA The El Paso Boxing/Martial Arts Hall of Fame - 2013 Night of Champions
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The El Paso Boxing/Martial Arts Hall of Fame - 2013 Night of Champions


boxing-martial-arts-hall-of-fameEl Paso's most recognized boxers and martial artists were honored for their outstanding accomplishments, extraordinary excellence, and devotion to the community at this year’s 2013 El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall of Fames 20th Anniversary Celebration. Several regional, national and world champion inductees took the stage and inspired a large audience with heartwarming stories about their careers in boxing and martial arts.

Performance awards were handed to those who have exemplified athletic talent for their respective sport in 2012. El Paso’s deep history of high-level boxing and martial arts was recognized and celebrated once again.

The El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall Of Fame was established in 1993 by Thomas W. McKay as a means to preserve and honor the blood sweat and tears of the boxing & martial arts community for their powerful contributions. Inductees and awardees included boxers, martial artists, trainers, promoters, managers, sports writers and supporters. The Hall’s consistency in honoring boxer and martial artist would ultimately merge the gap and diminish any rivalries between the two fiercely disciplined and competitive groups.

The event took place on Saturday April 27th, 2013 at the Region XIX at 6611 Boeing St. in El Paso, Texas. Family and friends filled the sold out venue in support of this year’s inductees and performance award winners. The award banquet agenda began with meeting, greeting and socializing. Dinner was served as guests enjoyed a historical boxing & martial arts slide show dedicated to this year’s inductees.

The patriotic Jr. Devil Dog Marines gathered the audience’s attention as they stood with proud American posture and performed the United States Flag Ceremony. The evening led into a spectacular martial arts sword performance by long-time martial artist, and 2013 Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee Sammy Vasquez. Sammy is a 9th degree black belt, practitioner in Karate and Ninjutsu, and earned a PHD in Martial Arts Psychology.

The annual ceremony continued with the selection of the Hall of Fame’s 2013 King and Queen. Each year board members selects two children with cancer to represent as King and Queen. This year Fernanda Garcia and Anthony Seijas were voted in for these positions. Each year the Hall of Fame helps support the Candlelighters of El Paso, a noble organization dedicated to helping children with cancer.

Hollywood actor, stuntman, producer, former Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and undefeated Muay Thai fighter Ernie Reyes Jr. was one of this years martial arts guest speakers. Ernie fought for the world’s most prestigious martial arts promotions including Strikeforce. George Chung was another martial arts guest speaker. Mr. Chung is a seventh degree black belt in Tae Kwon do and also a 5-time World Karate Champion.

This year’s boxing guest speaker was 6-Time National Boxing Champion, 1972 Olympic Medalist and Creator of Boxercise, Jesse Valdez. Mr. Valdez is an Air Force veteran and one of the Unites State’s top amateur boxers of all times.

2013 Boxing Hall of Fame Inductees

The Board of Directors voted unanimously in selecting Jose Garibay, Luis Maldonado, Nico Perez, Jerry Martinez, and Mathew Aguilar as the 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees. The 2013 Special Boxing Awards went to Ladislao Vicencio (Lifetime Achievement Award), Jake Martinez (Legends Award: Posthumous), Manny Ortega (Legends Award: Posthumous), and Alejandro Guerrero (Legends Award: Posthumous).

Nico ‘El Hijo Del Pueblo’ Perez was an amateur champion in Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. His professional record of 57-17-1 included 28 fights by knockout.  Some of Nicky’s opponents included greats like Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, and Juan La Laporte.

Admired boxing legend and U.S. Army Veteran Jerry Martinez was inducted. Martinez confidently racked up three New Mexico State Golden Gloves Championships in his prime. He was a top competitor at the National Golden Gloves, making it all the way to the finals. After close to 100 amateur fights, Martinez turned pro in 1975 winning all but 1 fight.

Seasoned trainer Luis Maldonado was the 2013 recipient for induction in the Boxing/Trainer Legends category. Luis held a talented stable of both professional and amateur champions. Luis trained fighters out of the San Juan Boxing Center. He led the San Juan Warriors to more individual Regional Golden Glove Champions over the past 30 years than any other team in El Paso history. Sadly, Luis died this past December, therefore Luis’s son Luis Maldonado Jr. and family were there to speak on his behalf and receive his award.

The 2013 Media Inductee went to El Paso Times boxing /sports columnist Mathew Aguilar. He is known for his well-detailed accounts of events he’s covered and columns on Ring Magazine and KO Magazine. Mathew has written about champions such as Erik Morales, Jose Luis Castillo, Johnny Tapia, Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, and Robert Duran.

Twin City Boxing Champion Jose Garibay was called “manos como un martillo” or hands of hammer in English. He was the 1971 and 1972 El Paso Regional Golden Gloves Bantamweight Champion. Garibay now owner of Garibay Construction, raises funds, clothing, and goods for the needy children and struggling Tarahumara Indians in Mexico.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to 3-Time Texas State Golden Gloves Champion  Ladislao ‘Junior’ Vicencio. Vicencio was an amateur boxing champion in his earlier years and now heads the local USA Boxing and has been appointed President of The El Paso Boxing Hall of Fame for 2013. Manny Ortega, Jake Martinez, and Alejandro Guerrero who have all passed away were honored with the 2013 Legends Award.

Boxing Coach of the Year went to Louie Burke again this year. Burke had an incredible year as a trainer with Austin Trout, Abe Han, Siju Shabazz, Timothy Meek, and Zachary Prieto. Austin Trout was awarded Boxing Professional of the Year for his victory over Miguel Cotto and his Championship fight against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

Louie's older brother Rocky Burke received the Official of the Year Award for his dedication and good judgment as an experienced boxing referee and officiate. Zachery Prieto received the Amateur Boxer of the Year Award for his 2012 accomplishments. The lovely Jennifer Han received Female Boxing Coach of 2012 for her position as assistant head coach to the USA Junior Olympic Team at the Junior Olympic Championships in Russia. The 2012 Professional Boxing Rising Star Award was earned by Abraham Han. Abraham is on a winning streak record of 18-0 with 12 knockouts. Alejandro Guerrero who passed away some years back was awarded the 2013 Legends Award. Guerrero was an amateur boxing standout and help fund the 1st ever El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

2013 Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductees

The Board of Directors appointed Renshi Sensei Benny Benavides as President of the El Paso Martial Arts Hall of Fame 2013. Benny is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu. Benny’s accomplishments include winner of the 1983 European Wrestling Championship, 2007 Pan American Champion in Jiu-Jitsu, winner of 6 Grapplers Quest competitions, 1st in the Absolute (Open Weight class) at UFC 100 Fan Expo, and winner of several NAGA competitions.

The 2013 Martial Arts Inductees are Hilary Sandoval, Albert Romo, Sam Vasquez, Clarence Beckmon, Carol & Dave Cobb, Ernest Hewitt, and Darryl Watts. The 2012 MMA Performance Awards went to  Armondo Rivas, Aida Yvette Gray, Eddie Gamboa, Ricardo Juan McCall, Hugo Sida, and Bushido MMA Gym.

Promoter and businessman Hillary Sandoval gave a heartwarming and inspiring speech during his induction. Sandoval and his now deceased brother Tony promoted dozens of championship fights in El Paso, Phoenix, Houston, and Midland. The Sandoval brothers are credited for promoting El Paso’s first ever world championship fight. Battlestar Karatica Promotions worked with 21 world champions and produce over 40 events.

Alberto “Beto” Romo mastered the art of Olympic-style wrestling and then ventured into “Lucha Libre” for over 20 years. He became known as “El Tigre Tejano, Campion sin Corona” or Texas Tiger, Champion without a Crown. Beto was enshrined posthumously into the 2013 El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Clarence Beckmon Jr. is credited for his teaching and training skills that pioneered martial arts instructors in El Paso and surrounding areas. He is an accomplished artist in Shotokan, American Boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Goyu Ryu, and Shaolin Goju Karate Do.

For the first time a duo team of man and wife were selected for induction, the recipients are Dave and Carol Cobb. Carol Cobb is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and her husband Dave is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Sensei Ernest C. Hewitt is a 6th degree Black Belt in Aikido, 6th Degree Black Belt in Shubucan Ryu Aiki Jutsu and National Certified Senior Judo Rank Examiner.

A martial artist for decades and a ferocious kick-boxer, Darryl Watts was the director’s choice for being inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame under the category of ‘Living Legend Award.

The 2012 MMA Performance Award Selections are: MMA Professional Fighter of 2012 went to Ricardo Juan McCall (4-0 MMA). MMA Instructor of 2012 is Hugo Sida. Co-MMA Instructor of 2012 is Shane Schuman. MMA Male Amateur Fighter is Armando Rivas (2-0). MMA Female Fighter of 2012 is Aida Yvette Gray (2-1). MMA Rising Star Fighter of the Year 2012 is Eddie Gamboa (3-0). And MMA Gym/ Academy is Bushido for their 2012 MMA record of (27-2).

The El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall of Fame Board of Directors are Thomas McKay, L.B McKay, Ladislao Vicencio, Benny Benavides, Terry Melendez, Rocky Burke, Steven Arredondo, David Arredondo, Bill Knight, Martha Villa, Burnette Johnson, Miguel Andrade, Francisco Alvarado, Frankie Diamos, Manny Morales, Jose Garibay, and Tatsuo Goya.

Steven Arredondo

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