By Fiona Manning
Beloved former WBC super welterweight champion Lupe Aquino is turning promoter. His first show, in conjunction with wife Jamie Aquino takes place tonight, [Friday, January 24] at the Ventura Country Fairgrounds.
Aquino’s first show will be headlined by Nigerian mid-dleweight contender Kings-ley Ikeke and will feature special guest appearances by Fernando Vargas and Mia St. John.
In another first, Aquino’s nephew Memo Aquino, trained by the boxing great, makes his pro debut on this card in the 124 division.
Lupe Aquino himself was originally slated to headline until he suffered a terrible injury whilst running on November 9.
“I think God is trying to tell me something,” Aquino said today in an exclusive interview with La Prensa San Diego. “I think God is trying to tell me to stop fighting.”
Aquino, trained by the great Abel Sanchez, last fought in November of 1999 and has a record of 53-9-2, with 36 KOs.
“I went running with my niece and nephew up in the mountains about Santa Paula and a boulder rolled down the slope and hit me,” he said. “I broke my femur and they had to carry me to my car.
“It’s been hell, let me tell you. I was in the hospital for 12 days, I had four surgeries and the doctors gave me 75 injections I had to give myself every day for 75 days in my stomach so I wouldn’t get blood clots.”
Aquino was wrapping his nephew’s hands for some light sparring at the Ten Goose Gym as he related this story. Balancing himself on crutches, he nonetheless looked to be in tremendous shape.
“My hands are fumbling,” he said. “It’s been a while since I did this but I an usually do it with my eyes closed. I am actually in good shape. I think my conditioning helped me recover so much faster. My doctors are trying to tell me it will be five or six months before I can fight again, but I’ll beat that.
“As a matter of fact, I forgot my crutches at the gym the other day. That’s a good sign, isn’t it? it means that mentally I am preparing to leave them behind me already.”
Aquino and his nephew move from gym to gym seeking sparring wherever they can get it, including Ten Goose and La Colonna [home to Fernando Vargas] in Oxnard.
The former champion is very proud of his nephew whom he says has all the right qualities to become a big name in boxing.
In the meantime, Aquino, who plans to promote fights regularly in California has to mull over his own future fight options.
“After my last fight I decided to move to Miami, Florida and train there but I found the humidity too much. Then my wife got a job offer to work for CBS in Las Vegas and we moved there. When I started to train there, I got into a car accident and that took me out for a while.
“We moved back here and I wanted to fight and we started having hassles with promoters so we decided to promote our own shows. I started training again and this time I got hit by a rock!
“You know what’s weird is, I thought we would be running somewhere safe. Away from traffic and noise and pollution and the humidity and I got hit by a rock! I am proud to say though, it didn’t knock me out.”
For tickets and more fight information: Please contact Lupe and Jamie Aquino at 805 933 7097.