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Pro boxing card set to make big splash in Farmington

School of Hard Knocks Promotions hopes to put sport back in local spotlight
From left to right: Elijah Martinez, Tyrek Wells, Rolyn Nez, Isidro Castillo, Jonathon Abeyta, Lucas Griego and Joe Martinez pose for photos during a news conference at Buffalo Wild Wings to promote an upcoming boxing card later this summer at McGee Park Coliseum. (Steven Bortstein/Tri-City Record)

FARMINGTON – For the first time in more than five years, a professional boxing card will be held in the Four Corners.

McGee Park Coliseum will host a series of bouts on Sept. 13.

The School of Hard Knocks Promotions will present anywhere between eight to 10 matches, featuring boxers from San Juan County, as well as other parts of New Mexico.

Lead promoter Isidro Castillo spoke to fans and fighters to promote the event during a news conference held Sunday at Buffalo Wild Wings. Castillo, a former boxer who also served as a boxing coach and trainer for fighters in a variety of combat sports, is excited to bring boxing back to this area.

“The history of boxing in New Mexico has some great ties to this community,” said Castillo. “There’s been some really top quality fighters from around here and we’re glad to bring this event to this area.”

Boxing promoter Isidro Castillo speaks to family members and boxing fans during a news conference at Buffalo Wild Wings on Sunday, June 16, 2024 to promote a fight card later this summer at McGee Park Coliseum. (Steven Bortstein/Tri-City Record)

In addition to some up-and-coming local boxing talent, Joe Martinez, who had more than 30 fights in his professional career, also hopes to be a part of the program.

“Having a wide variety of boxers is key for an event like this,” Castillo said. “We want fans to see the best fighters in the state. If this event goes well, we can be sure there’ll be a lot more to come to Farmington.”

Some of the top boxers in the state include Bob Foster, a member of the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion from 1973 to 1974.

Johnny Tapia, an Albuquerque native before his passing in 2012, won 59 of 66 professional fights, including world championships at bantamweight and super flyweight divisions.

Martinez, who put together a 23-8 record as a professional, will be joined by more than a half-dozen area boxers climbing up the professional ladder.

Farmington’s Elijah Martinez, who won the title of outstanding boxer of the 2015 New Mexico State Silver Gloves is expected to fight in September. Bloomfield’s Jonathon Abeyta, who has two wins from four pro bouts, is also expected to fight.

The last professional boxing card in the Four Corners region took place at Sky Ute Casino in 2018. The 49-year-old Castillo, who lives with his family in Hobbs, has hosted combat sporting events in southeastern New Mexico and in Texas.

He hopes interest in the fight card at McGee Park will present itself not only by the combatants in the ring, but also through ticket sales.

“If we have the interest of the fans and the community, then I’d love to get Farmington back into the boxing schedule again,” Castillo said. “There’s a lot of passionate sports fans, especially for fighting, and I hope we’ll make a big impact with those.”

In addition to boxing, Castillo has also presented a handful of bare-knuckle bouts and is also planning to host a mixed martial arts card in the near future.

There will be several boxers looking to make their names known at the event, including Farmington’s own Lucas Griego. A 2013 Farmington High School graduate, Griego has had only three amateur bouts, but is looking forward to getting into the ring and celebrating his passion for the sport.

“Boxing is one of the purest sports out there,” Griego said. “From the training and the coaching and the discipline it takes to succeed. Losing a match gives you an opportunity to look at what you’re doing and improve and better your skills.”

Details on the fight card, including ticket prices, are still being finalized.

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