The CBZ Newswire

West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame Awards Induction

by on May.15, 2015, under Boxing News

Photos & Report from Inaugural Event

By Michele Chong

 

Rick Farris, at left, with Jimmy Lennon, Jr. (photo by Michele Chong)

Rick Farris, at left, with Jimmy Lennon, Jr. (photo by Michele Chong)

The first-ever West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame (WCBHOF) held their induction ceremony and awards luncheon on Sunday, April 26. This inaugural event took place at Vitello’s E Spot Lounge in Studio City, Calif.

Here’s my recap of the day and exclusive snapshots from this sold-out boxing luncheon!

This new organization was co-founded by Rick Farris (President) and Dan Hanley (Vice President) and their gala was a “Legends of the Olympic Auditorium”-themed tribute. The WCBHOF bash had been sold out for a couple of weeks with special tickets added to accommodate the overflow crowd (who could watch the ceremony in an additional room downstairs in the venue).

Inductees for this year’s Class of 2015 were: Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Carlos Palomino, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Rodolfo “El Gato” Gonzalez, the original “Golden Boy” Art Aragon (posthumous), Don “War-a-Week” Chargin, Jimmy Lennon (posthumous) and Jimmy Lennon Jr. plus special awards presented to Alan Swyer (“El Boxeo”) and Gene Aguilera (“Mexican Boxing in Los Angeles”). Mancini was honored but was not able to be there in person.

Emcee for the day was ring announcer Jim FitzGerald, who introduced the honorees, special guests and boxing luminaries lining the stage. President Farris thanked everyone for their support and also took time to shine the spotlight on the many familiar faces in the crowd.

Ryan O'Neal, at left, with Dan Hanley

Ryan O’Neal, at left, with Dan Hanley

Witnessing this kickoff awards show were famed actor Ryan O’Neal, former fighters Gabe Ruelas, Alex Ramos, Mike Weaver, Thell Torrence, Herman Montes, Frankie Duarte, Frankie Santillan, Phil Barba, Willie Lucero, veteran Joey Olmos (CSAC), current CSAC officials Zac Young, Eddie Hernandez and John Liechty, National Boxing Hall of Fame’s Bill and Linda Young, promoter Blanca Gutierrez (Babyface Boxing), trainers Ricky Funez and Ramon Espada, trainer/sculptor Steve Harpst, Retired Boxers Foundation’s Jacquie Richardson, Thompson Boxing photographer Carlos Baeza, Joe Robledo (son of blind boxing coach Canto Robledo), Audie Aragon (son of Art Aragon) and many more.

On stage, the speeches were filled with many recollections of a bygone era in boxing with humorous anecdotes, heartfelt thanks, and a vow to always honor the sweet science. Many attendees told me what a nice day it was to spend time reconnecting with everyone in the boxing circles. The inductees had family members in the audience and I watched as their wives, children and grandchildren beamed with pride at seeing their loved ones receive recognition.

Dan Hanley, at right, with Gene Aguilera, who received an award for his book.

Dan Hanley, at right, with Gene Aguilera, who received an award for his book.

In a nice signature touch, President Rick Farris went around the tables to personally greet the guests. As the show runner, Farris didn’t have a minute to spare and yet he took time to show his appreciation to his boxing associates and guests at this awards luncheon. This intimate venue held approximately 120 ticket holders and the ambiance in the room was one of class. And the show ran smoothly and right on schedule, a one-two punch for the first-ever awards banquet. The attendees enjoyed an Italian buffet while watching vintage film clips on the big screen. An added bonus was boxing memorabilia displayed by Art Aragon’s son, Audie (named after Audie Murphy). And Babyface Boxing’s Blanca Gutierrez was also introduced on stage and gave a very powerful speech about amateur boxing and females in the sport.

There was also talk of a possible West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame Museum someday in the future as this new group will continue to honor the sport of boxing. Besides Rick Farris and Dan Hanley, the other WCBHOF members are Frank Santillan (Vice President-California), Publicist John Raspanti, Event Coordinator Cristina Sasso, Board of Directors Alan Swyer, Blanca Gutierrez, Charlie Norkus Jr., Tiger Smalls, Zac Young and Irichelle Duran.

Their very first West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame awards was a big hit with fans already looking forward to their future events.

As the newest Hall of Fame in California, the WCBHOF scored a knockout in their inaugural showing.

Congratulations to all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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