Posted Oct 21, 2020 | By Alejandra Cerball
Home to professional boxers and young hopefuls eager to compete in the ring, Oxnard is considered a national hub for boxing.
Home to professional boxers and young hopefuls eager to compete in the ring, Oxnard is considered a national hub for boxing. Boxing champions Fernando Vargas, Robert Garcia, Hugo Centeno Jr., grew up here, and boxers like Victor Ortiz and Vasyl Lomachenko have moved to Oxnard to train. This coastal town hosts a prestigious boxing tournament with over 650 young fighters hoping to take the top prize. It's no wonder the city has been dubbed "Boxnard."
Want to get the true "Boxnard" experience? In this guide, we'll cover:
The City of Oxnard is home to many professional boxing champions, including Hugo Centeno Jr., who enjoys eating at H.C. Seafood at Fisherman's Wharf after the gym. He likes to sit near the water and watch all the boats go by.
The Oxnard born pro boxer is also on the cover of our 2020 Oxnard Visitors Guide.
Download your copy today to get the local scoop on the best places to stay, things to do, and top dining destinations in Oxnard.
Graciela Casillas became the International Women’s Boxing Association bantamweight champion in 1976 and the World Karate Association bantamweight champ in 1980. She grew up in Oxnard, graduated from Hueneme High School and worked at Oxnard College as a Professor and Academic Counselor for over 20 years before retiring. She’s also a martial arts teacher and developed the curriculum for the martial arts program taught at the college.
What are your favorite things to do in Oxnard?
"I enjoy the ocean, especially at sunset. However, I mostly enjoy the fact that most of my brothers and sisters live in Ventura County. I love my siblings and while our lives are full of things to do, whether work or family related, it is comforting to know that we are close enough to see each other whenever possible."
What inspired you to open a martial arts academy in Oxnard?
"I have spent more than 40 years training and teaching martial arts. I love knowing that I can make a difference in people's lives, especially young people who just need a little push to fulfill their potential."
Although the academy is currently closed, she continues teaching martial arts and boxing and hopes to find a new location where students can visit and continue training.
Follow Graciela on Instagram @casillasmartialarts.
Besides being the stomping grounds for many professional boxers, Oxnard has a well-known boxing program in good standing with the Amateur Athletic Boxing Federation. The Oxnard Police Activities League hosts the boxing program for boys and girls ages 9 to 18. Kids train at two gyms, including:
In 2019, hundreds of participants came together for the Oxnard PAL boxing competition that served as an Olympic qualifier.
"Oxnard is a boxing community," says Terrell Harrison, the City of Oxnard's Community Service Manager, and State and National PAL Board Member.
Boxing "brings a sense of pride to Oxnard residents, who have grown to expect that we are going to hold these events. It puts the name Oxnard on the map nationally and internationally," he says.
If you're in town for the next Oxnard PAL Boxing Tournament, you should know this isn't a small-time competition. In previous years, 650+ boxers from 34 states have come together to claim the top prize. With approximately 6,000 fans in the audience, these events are live-streamed, with 62,000 viewers tuning in.
It's yet another reason to visit Oxnard.
"There is a rich history and culture in Oxnard that entertains boxing," says Harrison. "We have a reputation for being the national hub for boxing. If you want to become a professional baseball player, you may not want to play for the Cubs, but you certainly want to play at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Oxnard is like the Wrigley Field of boxing."
The boxing influence goes well beyond the ring. On Sixth & A Streets, a utility box features a vinyl wrap tribune to boxing. The "Boxnard" art piece was created by Andrea Mendoza, a local graphic designer.
Behind 333 W. 4th Street, you'll find "Dinastia Garcia," a boxing-inspired mural by artist Huicho Le. Born and raised in California, Artist Hüicho Lé creates art to "bring respect and honor to the indigenous community."
Don’t Miss: Amazing Street Murals, Sculptures + Art Galleries in Oxnard
Want to train like a pro? Here are some of Oxnard's world-class boxing gyms.
Just sixty miles northwest of LAX and near Santa Barbara, Oxnard is one of California's best-kept secrets. Come for the pristine beaches, try the best tacos in town, and train with the boxing pros.
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Alejandra Cerball (Journalist)
Alejandra Cerball is an award-winning journalist, writer, and editor of alexcerball.com, a Travel + Lifestyle online destination filled with compelling and honest travel tips + resources. On her blog, Alex shares inspiration for your bucket list, travel + adventure itineraries, and style guides to help you pack for your next trip.send email visit website