WILFREDO ‘BAZOOKA’ GOMEZ – BORN TO FIGHT
A Fire Burns Within is the compelling tale of an all-time boxing great who fought his way to stardom from the mean streets of the Puerto Rican capital San Juan.
The three-time world title winner is best remembered for his 17 consecutive title fight defences – but his story as a man and fighter runs much deeper. Including interviews with Gomez, those close to him, the fighters he fought and those who watched his remarkable career unfold, A Fire Burns Within reviews one of the finest boxing careers.
Christian Giudice details Gomez's dramatic rise to fame, but also tells the largely untold story of the struggles he faced after his fight career ended, and how his mettle was tested in a completely different way.
- In 1974, Gomez went to the Amateur Boxing World Championships (AIBA) in Cuba, and heroically knocked out all four opponents. Cuban officials tried to get him to stay in the country.
- When Gomez went down in the first round against Dong Kyun Yum in 1977, all of Puerto Rico fell eerily silent. Then Gomez rose to knock Yum out in the twelfth round. He became world champion of the recently created 122-pound division.
- In October 1978, Wilfredo, 21, doused the flames of the Mexican knockout king, Carlos Zarate. Few had faith that he could unsettle the experienced Mexican, but he did so with a viciousness that belied his calm demeanor outside the ring.
- Along with his legendary reign at 122, Gomez broke Roberto Duran’s record of 10 consecutive knockouts with a victory over Nicky Perez at Madison Square Garden. Gomez would eventually make seven more KO defenses to earn the honors of the best 122-pounder ever.
- After getting beaten by Salvador Sanchez in 1981, Gomez apologized to his people for his performance. Nearly a year later, Gomez, distraught, learned about Sanchez's tragic death, stopped training, and traveled to Mexico to place flowers at Sanchez's gravesite.
- In 1982, Gomez faced Mexican Lupe Pintor in an unforgettable Fight of the Year brawl. By stopping Pintor in the 14th round, Gomez redeemed himself in the eyes of his followers.
- In 1995, Wilfredo’s glorious career ended with his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, where he confirmed what everyone knew all along – “I was born to fight.”
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