LORAIN — The last time a professional boxing card was staged in Lorain was 1990 at the Palace Civic Center and Lorain native Ricky “Showtime” Quiles was the headliner.
Quiles, who would go on to capture four world titles, won his fight that night.
On Thursday, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Ohio Hispanic Heritage Coalition announced that professional boxing will return to Lorain on Saturday, Oct. 6, with an 11-bout (four professional) card at the Premier Soccer Academy.
This time, Lorain natives and professional boxers Wilkins Santiago (6-0) and Angel Figueroa (3-0) will headline the card, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the fieldhouse. Tickets range from $20 (general admission) to $75 (ringside table seat).
Freddy’s Youth Boxing, where Santiago and Figueroa got their start, and Rival Sports, which runs the Premier Soccer Academy, are co-presenting the event.
“When I say it’s been a journey to get to this point, it’s been exactly that,” said OHHC vice president Tim Carrion, who is promoting the event. “We met four months ago to talk about highlighting our athletic community and really showcasing our culture and trying to keep the culture alive and instilling that pride in our citizens and our culture.
“We wanted to make the mainstream aware of why we do what we do and why we are who we are. We came together and it’s been awesome. We’ve put on quite a few events, but the apex is going to be this boxing event.”
Quiles and Dr. Fleming Mosley will attend the card and be recognized for their accomplishments as Lorain boxing legends at the event being billing as the “Steel City Storm.”
“Dr. Mosley is going to be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Hispanic Coalition for being a standout boxer and his contributions to local education, but also for his contributions to the community,” Carrion said. “Ricky Quiles is going to be honored for his achievements in the ring. They’ll both receive an award for us and it’s my understanding that (Lorain) City Council would also like to honor both gentlemen with some type of award.”
Santiago, nicknamed “The Hispanic Hurricane,” will face Missouri’s Jordan Brown (3-0), while Figueroa will take on Anthony Willis from Michigan.
“I’ve known all of these people a long time, and I’m glad they’re putting a show together for me and boxing,” Santiago said. “I’m ecstatic to be in Lorain and show my people, our big Hispanic population — Puerto Ricans, Mexican, Cubans, we’re all Hispanic and we all belong to the same breed — what I can do in the ring.
“I’m just honored to be able to show my talent. All these years that Freddie (Barreiro) invested in me, through the ups and downs he stuck by me, and he’s like another father to me. It’s great that we can put this show on for him.”
Santiago, a super middleweight who fights at 154 pounds, was thrilled to be able to have a pro bout in his hometown.
“It’s good emotion on my part,” he said. “It’s always good to have the crowd behind you. I’ve always carried that mentality like ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler, who’s been one of my favorite fighters, that it don’t matter who’s backyard I’m in, when I’m in that ring, that’s my backyard.
“It will be a plus because I’ll have all of my Hispanic brothers and sisters here to show their support. They’ll be an inspiration, that’s for sure.”
Figueroa, an up-and-coming 140-pounder, was also thrilled to be involved.
“I’m here to fight in front of my Hispanic fans, I’m not here to play,” he said. “My trainer, Sammy Aponte, Freddy, Wilkins Santiago, they’ve been all been working hard with me to get me ready for this show, and I’m ready to show everybody in Lorain who I am and what type of fighter I am.”
The 32-year-old Santiago, who started training with Barreiro when he was 9, remembered attending that last card with Quiles, and credited Quiles and Mosley for being inspirations.
“Ricky is a few years older than me, and I’ve always looked up to guys like that,” Santiago said. “He had his career and I respect him for what he accomplished and did for local boxing and what he continues to accomplish.
“Dr. Mosley was a teacher of mine when I was growing up. Any fighter that’s been involved with boxing, you’ve just got to take your hat off and give the utmost respect to those that came before you. Right now, my focus is on winning a title myself, but I’m just honored to be a part of this.”
Barreiro was thrilled, as well.
“I feel great,” he said. “Even though these kids have been successful, the dream to compete has always been there. I’m happy for this day and for all the young kids who are coming up to be a part of this.”
Carrion said Lorain won’t have to wait another 22 years for its next event.
“We don’t want this to be a one-shot deal,” he said. “We want this to become a tradition to where we can showcase our talent on a regular basis.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.