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2017 West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame Awards!

Recap/Photos From Awards Ceremony

History was made on October 15 as the Class of 2017 was inducted into the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame (WCBHOf). This year’s awards show was once again held at the famed Garland Hotel Event Center in North Hollywood.

Here is my exclusive look back at the sold-out ceremony!

The WCBHOF President Rick Farris and Co-Founder Dan Hanley inducted Oscar Albarado, Paul Banke, Frankie Crawford, Albert Davila, Frankie Duarte, Loreto Garza, Andy “Kid” Heilman, Ernie Lopez, Randy Shields, Paul Vaden, Mickey Davies, Bobby DePhilippis, Dick Enberg, Pancho Villa, Bill Caplan and Blanca Gutierrez. Special awards also went to legendary actor Ryan O’Neal (“Tom Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award”) for his contribution to boxing and “Book of the Year” was presented to writer John Raspanti (“Intimate Warfare” by Raspanti and Dennis Taylor).

In attendance were some of boxing’s best including prizefighters Mike Weaver, Carlos Palomino, Danny Lopez, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Art Frias, Thell Torrence, Tony Lopez, Gabe Ruelas, Richie Savala, the Weaver Triplets (Floyd, Lloyd and Troy), Jeff Bumpus, Martha Salazar, Kenia Enriquez, Oscar Cantu, Shawn Hawk, Oscar Muniz, Hedgmon Robertson, Michael Chavez, Raul Carranza, Joey Olivera, Willie Lucero, Jeff Crawford, Mathew Porcellino, boxing historian/author Gene Aguilera, CSAC official Jack Reiss, trainer/sculptor Steve Harpst, WBC/NABF’s Deborah Hawkins, trainer Jaime Cantu, Colleen Kelly (daughter of USC’s Tom Kelly) actors Paul Le Mat and Nels Van Patten, and many many more.

The WCBHOF’s official emcee is Jim FitzGerald and the official WCBHOF artist is Jun Aquino (who painted portraits of all the champs). There were many poignant moments too numerous to name; the afternoon was chock full of highlights. And the inductees and their families certainly shined; the inductees took their moment onstage, often sharing anecdotes about their careers to a room that hung on every word. Spectators were also captivated by rare film footage that was shown on the big screens. The fans got their money’s worth as the champs posed for selfies and signed autographs for all.

After the big day, I recently caught up with President/Founder Rick Farris to hear his thoughts about this year’s bash, why he began this organization and what new events are being planned for the future!

Michele Chong: Hi Rick! Congrats on a great event. What are some of your personal highlights from October 15?

Rick Farris: Personally, I enjoy sharing the history of boxing as part of our event. I want to touch the audience by “taking them back” to the careers of those we are inducting by sharing the history in written words, highlight films, and memorabilia. Our goal is to create an event that is also a museum of sorts. To share the boxing history one must know it from the inside, beyond what is written, or believed to be true. Fans can dig up facts and figures, but the real history is what is behind the information, and much of it is incorrect or distorted. We want people to walk out with the feeling of having just stepped into a time capsule. Next year, we will be step up once again, and have a few surprises in store.

MC: What can you share about future plans for the WCBHOF? There’s talk of a brand new museum and also some special film screenings?

RF: The WCBHOF will screen “The Contender,” which is documentary produced by Ryan O’Neal and directed by Kevin O’Neal on the professional career welterweight title challenger Hedgemon Lewis. Ryan managed Hedge throughout his career in the 60s and 70s and got his boxer work in the film industry. Ryan also hired Hedge’s wife Diane to be his governess for daughter Tatum and son Griffin O’Neal. The film features Ryan and Barbra Streisand, a who’s who of boxing and filmmaking personalities. We will screen it in March, in Santa Monica. It will be a private screening for friends of the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame, our gift to our loyal supporters. The film is old school 16mm color, but you can at times hear the camera motor! This is what makes it so cool. No HD here! But it is unforgettable.

MC: Sounds great!

MC: Regarding the October 15 ceremonies, all of the inductees and guests I spoke to said what a great time they had and what a class act your organization is to the boxing community and beyond. No detail left out. Many also noticed that you humbly choose to stay out of the spotlight, you prefer to be behind the scenes. I’ve noticed that too; you want others to shine. And you want to preserve boxing history for all…

RF: Thanks Michele, I am touched by your observation. I was put here to do this.

MC: You’ve been in boxing a long time and are a noted historian. And you also say the WCBHOF is a team; I know you rave about your co-founder, Board of Directors and the whole crew. Any additional shout outs or mentions you’d like to give?

RF: Thanks, Michele! Frank Aragon is our WCBHOF “Memorabilia Director” and plays a big part in our bringing the DNA of West Coast Boxing to our events. I would also like to mention we also have new legal representation from our Legal Counsel Edgar B. Pease III Esq. Ed is setting up our copyright protection and help us create a non-profit situation which will be to everybody’s benefit!

There are also the great contributions of Fran, Edgar and our event coordinator Dimas Hern. Our directors are a team, and also Dave and Deborah Wilcox, who help me with a little bit of everything! Thanks again!

Congratulations again to all of the 2017 West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame Inductees!

Profile piece on inductee Paul Banke:

Exclusive interview with Rick Farris:

Photos by Michele Chong

Michele Chong

Michele Chong

Feature Writer at MyBoxingFans
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more. Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.
Michele Chong
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