ALBUQUERQUE, NM – New Mexico boxing legend Johnny Tapia died suddenly in 2012, and after his gym closed in 2015, boxing fans have been without a place to train like the champion until now.
The family is ready to participate in a new round to share his legacy with “Tapiaville”.
“This is the future and the legacy of the late Johnny Tapia,” said Teresa Tapia, Johnny Tapia’s wife.
The family of New Mexico boxing legend Johnny Tapia is gearing up for the grand opening of a new gym in his honor – the Tapiaville Center.
“You know it’s bittersweet because he used to have a gym here so you want him and after he passed I couldn’t go there and I closed it down and I know it’s going to hurt a lot of people,” Teresa said.
The family has been working on the new gym for months and is now set to open in just a few days.
“Honestly, he’s been a long, long time coming and I feel like we definitely need him,” Johnny Tapia Jr. said.
But they want it to be more than just a boxing gym, they want it to be a center for community engagement — something they say has been invaluable to Tapia.
“It was always something close to Johnny’s heart and when he was alive he didn’t do anything for the media attention, he did everything from his heart,” says Teresa.
The family said they would like to host fundraisers for various causes at Sunday’s grand opening, including baby coat donations.
The new gym features several equipment Tapia trained on himself and exclusive family photos.
The family hopes to help the next generation enter the ring.
Johnny Tapia Jr. said, “Our main focus is to get kids here to put the gloves on and put the guns down.”
Tapia’s own children have also found a love for the ring – they’ve even started competing at the amateur level.
“I love it, I love everything about the sport and I’m excited for the future,” said Nico Tapia, Johnny Tapia’s son.
Even though Tepia is gone, the family wants to continue his legacy by doing what he loves.
“It’s exciting but it’s scary because he’s not in my corner, but all we can do is keep pushing forward and you know and effort and doing our best in and out of the ring,” Tapia Jr.
For related stories: Tamara Lopez