Tag Archives: California Boxing

rickFrank

Los Angeles Boxing Legends: Frank Baltazar, Sr.

rickFrank Los Angeles Boxing Legends: Frank Baltazar, Sr.

Rick and Frank (September 22, 2007)

By Rick Farris
a former professional boxer and boxing historian )

 

By the end of WWII, a new era in Los Angeles boxing had taken life. In the eyes of California boxing historians, such as Gabriel “Hap” Navarro, former promoter and matchmaker at the legendary Hollywood Legion Stadium, the post war years thru the 1950’s, are considered the “Golden Era” of Los Angeles boxing.

At the time, L.A. headliners such as Enrique Bolanos, Manuel Ortiz, Art Aragon and dozens more, set box office records at the Olympic Auditorium, Hollywood Legion Stadium and Wrigley Field. In addition, the “City of Angeles” had a number of smaller clubs putting on regular shows, such as Ocean Park in Santa Monica, South Gate Arena and San Bernardino, to name a few.

A couple years after the war, a skinny 12-year-old would get his first taste of boxing from inside the ropes. This would be the birth of a life long journey for young Frank Baltazar, and it would take it’s first breath at the beginning of Los Angeles boxing’s toughest, most competitive era.

Today, six decades later, the skinny kid isn’t quite as skinny, and the thick black hair not quite as dark, as when we first met, however, Frank Baltazar Sr. looks pretty much the same. Frank’s handsome latino features contradict his seventy-plus years.

The first time I saw Frank was in the mid-1960’s, shortly after he’d hung up the gloves, after a sixteen year amateur career. Frank’s education in prizrfighting took place during the sports most glorious period in California, lessons learned in countless gyms, arenas and clubs thruout the Southland. His teachers were hardened “old school” veterans, and he practiced his skills in the ring, trading blows with some of the greats of the era
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Ray White-crop

Ray “Windmill” White / California Boxing Hall of Fame

Ray White crop Ray Windmill White / California Boxing Hall of Fame  By David Martinez / Boxing Historian

Last year in a conversation with Don Fraser, President of the California Boxing Hall of Fame, I mentioned to him, “Why isn’t Ray White in your select group of inductees?” Don’s reply was simple, “I have thought of that, but I have no idea how to reach him.” My reply to that was simple, “Don, because of my involvement with USA Amateur Boxing, I see and talk with Ray at various southern California shows and I will gladly take care of this for you.”

So late last year at a boxing show, I made that connection for Mr. Fraser, and now the rest of the story will take place later this month when Ray White will officially be inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame.

My memories of Ray White are fun ones, as I watched him box several times at Southland venues. He was a colorful light heavyweight in the 60’s and early 70’s.

A carpenter by trade, White took up boxing in 1958. His flamboyant clowning style included his unique “rooster” with others being the behind the back punch and the back hand bolo punch. Those antics gave him the nickname of “Windmill.” He was also referred to as the “Clown Prince of Boxing.”
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boxinglowres

ART IN ATHLETICISM: THE FORM AND PHYSICALITY OF BOXING

An exhibition by Desiree D’Alessandro in collaboration with Raymond Douglas

boxinglowres 296x300 ART IN ATHLETICISM: THE FORM AND PHYSICALITY OF BOXING

April 18th through April 22nd, 2011

Closing Reception and Exhibition Bout Friday April 22nd, 2011 from 5-7pm

in Old Gym Gallery 479 on UCSB campus

Artists Desiree D’Alessandro and Raymond Douglas take a unique look at the local student body of Isla Vista, focusing specifically on recreational and competition boxers.

 

The exhibition will not only depict student boxers utilizing traditional artistic approaches, but also allows the physical bodies engaged in athleticism first-hand be the medium on exhibit in an art context. This innovative and intriguing displacement facilitates dialogue across the boundaries of art and athleticism in a generative and productive new arena.

 

The venue that hosts the culmination of these efforts is a site of particular interest. UC Santa Barbara’s Gallery 479 is a site imbued with athletic history that still features rustic floors dating from when the space was a recreation center prior to 1949.The interplay of activating the current gallery and historical use of the space is invigorating for the context of holding an athletic-themed art exhibition, complete with alternative hours where the gallery is utilized as a training facility and a closing reception exhibition bout.

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desiree1

Sweating. Breathing. Punching. Training.

desiree1 Sweating. Breathing. Punching. Training.By David Martinez / Boxing Historian

On Feb 5th 2011, I was on hand to sponsor Desiree D’Alessandro, an artist who turned her studio into a modest boxing training facility as part of the UCSB Art Department’s MFA Open Studios at Harder Stadium. There, she engaged in a public endurance session that lasted 4 hours, training incessantly for 2-minute rounds with 1-minute intervals. Patrons were surprised and intimidated by the noise that invariably contaminated the entire building: the rapid pound of a speed bag being worked and the grunts and slams of power combinations against the heavy bag. Many wondered just what exactly D’Alessandro was doing and how it related to an art context. In order to investigate this concern, we must review her artistic record, similar to how one would investigate a fighter.

D’Alessandro is a 25-year-old artist from Tampa, FL. She received her BFA degree in 2008 from the University of South Florida with a major in Electronic Media and minor in Art History/Critical Theory. D’Alessandro is currently pursuing a MFA degree from UCSB with an emphasis in New Genres. Simply stated, New Genres is a contemporary realm, arguably more complex and convoluted than the discernible or traditional art practices of the past. It is this realm where D’Alessandro hopes to develop her voice and actively contribute to discourses that are generative, relevant, and even unexpected.

With her latest work, Art in Athleticism: The Form and Physicality of Boxing, one could say that this subject matter aptly fits the description.

I met D’Alessandro in August 2010 while co-coaching boxing with Henry Calles, owner of Duke’s Boxing and Fitness Gym, Isla Vista, California. On that first day at the gym, she signed up and has since been training and exploring boxing as art. She has lost forty pounds and incorporates rigorous training to coincide with her graduate studies. D’Alessandro explains, “I want to explore the boundary where art meets athleticism and invite spectators from different arenas to converge and converse. I am interested in interaction, reception, and the questions and challenges the pursuit of boxing in an art context raises.”
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Joey Orbillo -crop

JOEY ORBILLO

Joey Orbillo crop JOEY ORBILLOBy Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

During the 60′s and the early 1970′s the state of California produced several world class heavyweights. Talented and capable boxers like Eddie Machen, Jerry Quarry, Henry Clark, Thad Spencer, Bill McMurray, Mac Foster and Kenny Norton.

The city of Wilmington was represented by a rough and tough custumer by the name of Joey Orbillo. Joey did not have a lot of fights in a career that lasted less then a decade. He did have a lot of memorable wars. He was a game and brawling crowd pleaser. If it was blood and guts you wanted, Joey gave it to you.

He began his career in the mid-1960′s and was soon swapping leather with the likes of Henry Clark, Johnny Featherman and future world title challenger Manuel Ramos. Joey scored a big victory in March of 1966 outscoring the highly regarded Tony Doyle.

The win over Doyle set the stage for Joey to invade the top layer of the heavyweight division. He was matched with Eddie Machen. The veteran was among the best in the world.On June 23, 1966 he proved to be a little too much for Joey winning a hotly contested ten round split decision.

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