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Jul 16th
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Home MMA Alberto “Beto” Romo - Boxer -Wrestler
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Alberto “Beto” Romo - Boxer -Wrestler


Alberto-Beto-RomoAlberto Romo was born in Azusa California on April 8, 1923.  Shortly thereafter his family moved to Mexico. As he became of age, the young energetic and astute Beto came to the realization that America was the land of opportunity. He journeyed back to his motherland, knowing very well that a world war was raging, and enlisted in the United States Army.  After his honorable discharge in 1942, he relocated to El Paso and worked for Phelps Dodge Refinery from1944 until his retirement in 1977. He and his dear wife, Minnie, raised three wonderful children Bobby, Charlie and Marylou. Their entire lives were dedicated to their family.

During Beto’s tenure at the refinery, he served in numerous capacities. His greatest accomplishment however, among many, was campaigning for workers’ rights that until the present time are enjoyed by current company employees. As a vigorous and naturally athletic gifted lad, he took up the sports of bodybuilding and wrestling. He mastered the art of Olympic-style wrestling and then ventured into the rugged arena of professional “Lucha Libre”. His career spanned over 20 years competing throughout the Southwest and Mexico. Beto’s skillful performances and engaging personality brought him national recognition in Mexico. He was featured on the cover of Box y Lucha Magazine, equivalent to the United States  Ring Magazine, as “El Tigre Tejano, Campion sin Corona” or “Texas Tiger, Champion without a Crown.”  The full feature article chronicled his career in the ring and referred to him as “Una Estrella” in the Lucha Libre world.

Alberto worked full time in a laborious occupation and still did daily strenuous workouts at the gymnasium. He also had to nurture his young growing family. Beto made it a priority to contribute his time, effort and expertise to serve the El Paso community. He organized Lucha Libre functions at the Mine and Mill Hall for the benefit of union members and their families. One of his favored projects was joining forces with Saul Kleinfield to organize and coordinate the ‘Little Boy Blue Program’ for orphaned children from the El Paso and surrounding areas. The event was held on Father’s Day. Children were treated to a tour of the zoo than bused to the Judging Arena for lunch and to enjoy a highly entertaining afternoon of Lucha Libre with the Texas Tiger as the main event.

In 1965, Beto moved from El Paso’s Second Ward to the Bel Air High School area. Undaunted by the lack of athletic facilities, he decided that his home would be a perfect place for an outdoor gymnasium for young people to hone their athletic skill and develop their bodies and minds. Beto poured a concrete slab in his back yard, purchased equipment, and began to train those who wished to externalize their energies. Soon the word spread that Romo (as he was fondly called by the youngsters) welcomed all comers. It was not uncommon, on any given day, to observe Romo leading his charge of over 30 boxers, wrestlers and weightlifters as they labored through their routines. As his program grew, Romo convinced the Bel Air Optimist Club to allow the use of their building to keep his athletes sheltered from the harsh elements. This move enabled him to increase participation.

In 1966, Romo fielded his first boxing team to compete in the El Paso Golden Gloves Tournament. His ragtag group of inexperienced young guns soon became a force to reckon with. It was during these humble beginnings when Romo’s pride and joy, Junior Vicencio, would begin his boxing career and eventually develop a life-long passion for the sport that to date Vicencio embraces serving as regional director of the Golden Gloves program. As a boxer, Vicencio eventually amassed a string of titles, most notably 3 Texas Golden Gloves State Championships.  In 1979, the Carolina Community Center opened with Romo launching a boxing program with Vicencio as his assistant. Today, the Carolina Boxing Gymnasium is one of the premier public fitness centers where numerous world champions have visited and trained at, but most importantly, where local people of all ages engage in an alternative physical fitness activity on a daily basis. In 1998 during the inauguration of the new fully equipped boxing gym, Vicencio proudly embraced his old coach and stated, “Romo, you’re ultimately responsible for the founding of this gymnasium.”

Romo positively influenced countless lives. He devoted his life to teaching combative sports, but above all, he instilled in his pupils a strong work ethic, a commitment to education and honorable citizenship. On May 25, 2006, Romo passed away leaving a well-established legacy to be perpetuated by his children, grandchildren and countless of his past apprentices that he so zealously tutored as adolescents. With great honor, The El Paso Boxing/Martial Arts Hall of Fames has selected Alberto Romo to be enshrined posthumously into the El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Ladislao Vicencio

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