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Stockton History


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     Stockton was known by many for decades to be a mecca for boxing in Northern California and to be a fight town, as was the case in San Francisco and other California cities. Boxing is a form of entertainment in many cities. Though silent in the last twenty years, the interest was never lost in the fan, but only in the promoters.

     Big Time World Championship Boxing and Kickboxing is committed to resurrecting that interest and love of the sport. Instead of the fan having to go to Los Angeles, Las Vegas or a Pay-Per-View event, they are going to be able to see experienced, quality, professional boxing and kickboxing in their backyard.

     In 1971 Leonard Gardner wrote a book named Fat City. John Rastark produced and John Huston directed a movie based on the book. Stacey Keach, Jeff Bridges and Susan Tyrell starred in the movie.

     The movie features Stockton throughout, from beginning to end. The movie opens with Stockton's population sign at 102,000 and pans through the downtown Stockton hotels and mission-many of which remain standing today. Stockton has changed since the days of the onion and walnut fields, but fan interest and boxing has not waned.

     The movie is about an alcoholic boxer (Keach), a young, idealistic kid (Bridges), and a lonely woman (Tyrell). They paint an unforgettable portrait of people who have hit the ropes but refuse to abandon their dreams. Fat City is tough and poignantly subtle in its honest portrayal of ordinary people attempting to overcome extraordinary circumstances. The movie Fat City tells us that even for boxers "life is what happens in between rounds."

     The city of Stockton has had a very rich boxing history.

     Fred Feary was born in Anderson, California on April 10, 1912. He moved to Stockton at age 12 and attended Jefferson Elementary School and Stockton High School. In 1927, Feary fought his first amateur boxing match, in San Francisco. Over the next five years, Feary ran up an impressive string of wins all over northern California. He won a berth on the Olympic Team when he won the National AAU Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Gardens in 1932. The Olympic Trials were held in San Francisco and he won the heavyweight division. At the Olympic Games he took home the bronze and turned professional with a record of 40-2. Also in 1932 he placed 3rd in the Heavyweight Boxing division in Los Angeles. Feary retired in 1934 and became a policeman in Stockton.

     Al Avila was born in El Paso, Texas in 1917. In 1920 he moved to Stockton and started boxing in 1931 as an amateur in the Diamond Belt, Golden Glove and State Championships.




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Last modified: March 11, 2004