27.02.04 – World Champion Johnny Tapia says he is honored to grant a fan’s dying request to meet the boxer in person. 78-year-old Albuquerque resident John Tapia (no relation) has been treated at The University of New Mexico Hospital for terminal lung disease. While hospitalized, he told his family of his wish to meet the boxer. Through their efforts, the two will meet this Saturday at the fighters camp.
The elder Tapia’s daughter, Dolores Martinez told Tapia’s publicist, “My father is Johnny’s biggest fan and has wanted to meet him for as long as Johnny has been boxing. He never misses a fight and likes to tell people in jest that Johnny is his adopted son. Meeting Johnny will make him the happiest man in New Mexico. The family is so grateful that our father will get to meet his hero in his final days.”
Johnny Tapia said, “I’m honored that this man has so much love for me. I can’t wait to meet him. It’s truly an honor. I’m dedicating this March 5th fight to him and his battle. God bless him.”
The elder Tapia is a retired Navy man and home builder with nine children. After being hospitalized this past December, doctors found that he had lost all function in one lung and has 20% use of the other lung. He and his wife have been married for nearly 35 years.
The Tapia’s will meet this Saturday afternoon at Crespin’s Gym in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The elder Tapia and his family have been invited to watch Johnny prepare for his March 5th bout and will stay for a private meeting with the fighter and his family.
Johnny Tapia (53-3-2, 28 KOs) returns to the ring in a ten round featherweight bout against fellow New Mexican Frankie Archuleta (22-4-1, 13 KOs) on Friday evening, March 5th from Las Vegas, New Mexico. The fight will be broadcast on Telefutura. Check your local listings.
Tapia’s training camp is coming along perfectly. After Johnny’s latest work out, coach Eddie Mustafa Muhammad stated, “Johnny is in dog shape! He’s better than ever. He wins this one by knock out.”
Bouts will take place at New Mexico Highlands University, Wilson Complex. A limited number of $20 general admission seats remain and are available at all Ticketmaster locations.