Proof positive Boxing remains one of the most popular Sports locally

If there was ever a time when we could entertain the thought of Boxing going down for the count, it is now with this horrendous pandemic. And yet, if you were to visit the pages of Facebook and see all these local USA Amateur and Professional Boxers from the 62 plus gyms in San Diego County, the 12 additional gyms in Imperial County, plus all the AIBA Amateurs and Pro Fighters from the 57 plus Baja California Gyms busy working out, you would think they were getting ready for a title fight. Even with all the current, almost insurmountable barriers, the interest in the sport has not waned. The proof is visible right there on Facebook with one boxer after another displaying their washboard like stomachs.

That news is all fine and good, but we can’t lose sight of the fact these boxers both Amateur and Pro need the various tournaments to either gain recognition, showcase their talent, sharpen their skills, so they can eventually earn a decent living. As a result of this Pandemic, it seems as those most all contests have temporarily been shelved by the Tijuana Boxing Commission and like Commissions which in due course forced nine local Boxing Promoters from Baja California and San Diego to bond together and move further south to Rosarito to have their shows. With this move,, the organization responsible for keeping track of the Boxers’ wins and losses, felt the Rosarito Boxing Commission did not do their due diligence, were not being careful enough, disagreed with their matching of opponents and decided not to post the results of the first three shows in Rosarito at Papas & Beer. This development is still being monitored.

Recognizing that the Tijuana Boxing Commission has a better rapport with, three of the venue-less Boxing Promoters left the Rosarito group and sought to schedule their next show back in Tijuana. At that point, it became a problem of which venue would be available to host their upcoming Boxing shows which now had to be patterned after the shows being staged in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Hotel by ESPN working with Bob Arum. These twice a week shows were following an acceptable protocol advertised as “Inside the Bubble”, a format being aired on DAZN and and going without a paid attendance. Even the show’s color commentators were not in attendance. Arrangements were made for Andre Ward and Timothy Bradley Jr. to watch on monitors, one monitor in Ward’s hotel room and the other safely at Bradley’s home.

This is when, El Foro Antiguo Palacio Jai Alai on Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana came to the rescue and agreed to host the Toscano Boxing Promotions Show of September 5, 2020 featuring Ramos vs. Villalobos.

As they say timing is everything and it’s likely those involved in the Sport of Boxing respect this aphorism more than any institution. Below is a collage of photos from El Foro Antiguo Palacio Jai Alai, the venue chosen by Toscano Boxing Promotions for their next show on Saturday, September 5, 2020. It’s a venue which has also proven to be very adaptable over the past 70 plus years. Throughout the middle of the 20th Century, many sports fans throughout the West were catching on to a sport that populations today may have never even heard of. Jai alai is a sport played with an odd looking wicker basket with the competitors flinging a ball off walled in spaces at seemingly impossible speeds. For the longest time, Jai alai was all the rage and Tijuana’s El Palacio was the American Southwest’s premiere venue to watch the top players. In the plaza outside the main entrance of the arena (or “frontón” as it is called in jai alai), there’s a statue of a jai alai player leaping upwards to snag a speeding ball.

To give you a frame of reference on how long ago it was that the city of Tijuana began construction on this historic site (1947): that was the year Britain’s Princess Elizabeth married Phillip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh. It was the first year Americans could purchase the first new cars manufactured in the U. S. since the beginning of World War II.
Coincidentally, it was the year a broad spectrum antibiotic was introduced to fight the dreaded Typhus Fever, an infectious disease characterized by a purple rash, headaches, fever and delirium, and historically a cause of a high mortality rate during wars and famines. There were several forms, transmitted by vectors such as lice, ticks, mites, and rat fleas.
It was the year Jackie Robinson became the first African-American Baseball player to play in the major leagues (Brooklyn Dodgers). It was also the year of the first documented sightings of “flying saucers”, plus the now extinct Drive-in Theaters had become all the rage.

In 2002, Tijuana’s El Palacio closed its doors due to its lack of draw, plus an inability to pay for the much needed repairs to this 54-year-old facility. In 2003, investors raised the necessary funds to preserve this historic site and after completing their renovations, the building, in all its glory reopened as an Exhibition/Event/Convention Center, Concert Hall and as it now turns out, one of the latest Boxing Venues in the heart of Downtown Tijuana.

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