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A historic building contains goblins and magic. And it makes the lives of the people who walked their corridors. In journalism we have the famous case of Roberto Di Sandro and Casa Rosada, a professional who will forever be identified with Argentine presidents and events that moved a country. Another great example would be Osvaldo Principi and Luna Park, “the greatest source of memories for which we dedicate ourselves to humble trade of telling box”, appears in “Tangolibro. Boxing Club” (Editorial Planeta), a publication with notable interviews and reflections that occurred in the air of FM 2X4, along with Eliseo Álvarez. With this vital, biographical line, we interviewed Principi who since 1972 developed an intense career in the media, even with four films to his belt, and various advertisements. Between Julio Cortázar and Dante Panzeri, without fear analyzing the sport without barriers, Osvaldo works daily for an audience of sights, and listens, demanding. A race of journalists that one wants not to turn off like Valderrama. Exclusive note on serargentino.com with the cross straight, and ready, to the jaw.
Osvaldo Principi: My first contact with Luna Park walking on the gym was in June 1974. I had been working in my native Mercedes since 1972, on Radio Diffusora Oral Music Hogar, commenting on boxing with my notebook and my bike, and with the same responsibility today. I still keep the same spirit for a journalism that I investigated and deduced. And listen. Yesterday as today, I have a lot of confidence in documentation, in a personal library, and I have no doubt, that despite computer tools, the paper surpasses ten to one than digital, in terms of reliability.
And I came to Luna Park by Julio Ernesto Vila, perhaps the most important journalist and boxing historian in Latin America. I wrote him in letters before I met him, heh. And then he was my teacher for twenty years and we put together boxing journalism duo. But well, going back to Luna Park, I first walked in that winter of 1974 through the gym door. He was on the side of Lavalle and had more life than the stadium itself. All the magic of boxing happened in that place in the first part of the 70s, among the unforgettable ones, Victor Galíndez, Carlos Monzón, Nicolino Locche, Ringo Bonavena. There were also very popular boxers such as Horacio Saldaño, Abel Cachazú, Victor Echegaray, every step you took there you had a minimum note of half an hour, big history of the Argentine sport. I remember that the first interview was Alfredo Porzio, Paris Olympic medal in 1924. . It was a school of life that got into me. Beyond my parents' education, Mercedes School No. 8, Ameghino National College, I feel like at Luna Park I learned what I need in life. I didn't have college studies but my profession as a journalist if I owe it to Luna Park. And much more in gym hours than at night evenings.
OP: Vila was my total teacher although the first important work was obtained with Eugenio Ortega Moreno on Radio Belgrano. Ricardo Arias was also very important when I worked on Radio Splendid, the special on television councils. In graphic journalism, who taught me how to write was Ernesto Mizrahi, who hired me in Tiempo Argentino newspaper. I remember his tantrums because I didn't know how to type a machine, and that my mother taught typing. Cuqui Mizrahi had patience, and generosity, in my graphic beginnings.
And in the gym I had several models. Monzón was the champion, Bonavena a legend and several former champions such as Horacio Acavallo and Pascual Perez appeared. Of those great champions I learned day by day although I had a great particularity with Monzón. I was going to workouts with a yellow built-in microphone recorder, a novelty from that time because most had the Ransers carterita. It was a gift from Dad, bought in Mercedes, and maybe from some smuggling. And Monzón couldn't understand how he recorded this gizmo and looked laughing from the corners. Then once I made a note to be close, and when I finished, I faced it solved with less than twenty. And that turned out the first of many notes I made to her. I remember a couple of times I went out in a hurry, but I would date a few hours later at Corti Sports, a sports house in front of Luna Park. And he was doing what was agreed. Monsoon never missed his word with me. That made me admire once again the value of the word.
OP: Bar Ring Side was in the same Luna Park, full of boxers from all times, and the information came from there. A lot of rumors were checked on those coffee stools. You heard about the upcoming fights, who would travel United States of America, or the clashes between fighters and coaches . This laburo of direct sources is something that seems anachronistic when the information comes out from anywhere prima. Truthfulness has changed a lot.
To my students at the University of Palermo I say that when informative balloons appear, a cluster of unfounded news, the first thing to analyze is who is the director of the media and point it out. Because that will cause citing the source, from where such barbarity was said, or such a lie, those responsible to take charge. Retrieve the figure of the editor and the responsible director. When this happens journalism will regain truthfulness and credibility. Today journalism has many edges, what is information, what propaganda, what is extortion.
OP: I witnessed what is known the hardest fight of all time in Luna Park, Eduardo “Tito” Yanni versus Horacio Saldaño. It was two tremendous fights, but the first one Yanni won in 1980 will remain in the memory. Inhuman, epic, that it was not known who won until the last bell, even for Pepe Cardona, who was since the inauguration of the stadium in 1932. I witnessed that fight on the bench of the ring side because I had recounted the semifonds of Juan “Martillo” Roldán on Radio Splendid. I also participated in the last night of the Monedazos in 1981. It was the fight of the world championship between Santos “Falucho” Laciar and Luis Ibarra, a very suspicious match because Panamanian Ibarra said he was protected from the Boxing Association. That year he was still living in La Plata Dulce and turned out a real machine gun against the ring. I still hear the rumbling of coins against formica stalls. Ibarra was forty minutes without leaving under the canvas. I recently interviewed the Panamanian and said that the police themselves asked him to stay waiting, hiding, and that the coins run out. As a spectator, the one I remember most was in September 1971 when Monsoon retains the crown for the second time, and transforms that moment into the most important in the history of the Luna Park Stadium, at least an international projection.
OP: Totally. Pascual fought only once for world title at Luna Park. There will always be the discussion of who was most important in Argentine boxing, whether Pascual or Carlos Monzón. The generation before mine puts Perez, sustained by the sapience of Ulises Barrera. For us it will be Monzon. Two monsters .
OP: In October 1987 with the fight of Ramón Avendaño, which we televised by Ring Side 2 from Canal 2. And in 1988 the gym was closed and then the Luna Park divorces boxing. It was said that “Martillo” Roldán would reopen it if he won the title, then Pedro Técima was the last champion of Tito Lectoure in 1990, and it was rumored to take him to the Stadium. None of this happened. In 1989 a special permit was granted for a fight of Jorge “Locomotora” Castro, before Locomotive was Locomotive. A fight that Tito didn't attend, did not organize it, and that was done by the will of the people who wanted to see Castro at Luna Park. Lectoure at the time said he was reopening for the supporters but that it wasn't his willingness to return boxing .
OP: I think he got sick of the new boxing atmosphere, one that was changing the classic race he knew so well. The famous investors appeared. Already when José “Cacho” Steinberg got into the life of Monzon, someone who had nothing to do with boxing, breaks a familiar scheme of sport. That was a hedge in Tito's head, then a rubbing occurred in 1987 with Juan “Latigo” Coggi, and ten years after that with Monzón lowers the curtain of Luna Park for boxing. And the epicenter stadium grows.
There was also a reality: in the 1980s no more than fourteen, or fifteen, boxing nights per year were scheduled. The interest of families had declined . Until that moment boxing night was a party. And it wasn't cheap. The popular was more expensive than football. Boxing at Luna Park was popular although it was never accessible, and a lot of effort was made to be there. In the ring side of Luna Park, quite expensive, gathered the highest social estates, weaving alliances and businesses. Those we know today as media were going to Luna Park to show themselves. Politics, shows, business, Buenos Aires life passed through the ring side of Bouchard. Nothing was left in the mid-eighties.
OP: And I lived it with a great diseasation. I kept going almost every afternoon until 1993, to have coffee with Tito and a bar of friends. Two years later, Lectoure's heart problems made him stop going. When he died in 2002, his nephew Esteban Livera reopened the stadium very innocently since the world of boxing was not the same as he had traveled in his teens. And Luna Park, either. . This was the case until 2014 with Omar Narváez's fights, and Marcela “Tigresa” Acuna , though with characters in the business that Tito would have kicked out. All this ends with a legal dispute of the heirs and the Luna Park in the hands of the church. I was very surprised by the legacy Ernestina Lectoure, who left the stadium to the Catholic Church.
In these last few years I went to the Stadium, once for Mike Tyson's monologue, and another to a Los Tekis show. I was surprised that the boxers' paintings were not as they always were in the hallway, or that there was no photograph of Tito Lectoure. Even if right now I want to write an article about a historical boxer, and I need some photo of the Luna Park, I don't know if it would be well received, or directly ignored. I don't know anyone who has run the stadium since 2014 and that was one of my schools of life.
OP: I ignore them and they give me grace. It was a fashion for some journalists who did not dare to criticize in front of the sport, and certain politicians of a dubious personal life. Boxing is a sport, a job and a show, which are intertwined and fed back. And it's also the best social regenerator. It is something concrete that you can offer to a large section of the population that is up to hope . But my experience since 1972 relieving social action projects, or the various secretaries of sport, and various political parties, throws complete ignorance about boxing and its possibilities. It is always spoken in the speech of inclusion, and inclusion starts at the very corner where the neighborhood gym is. And that is not understood since 1973 when the first secretary of sport appears, with the government of the president Campora , and the box was also not given relevance, and then everyone saw it pass. Let us hope that at some point the funds that are squandered in sports can, one part, be oriented to boxing as a social regenerative activity. And it will surely change perception.
OP: Discipline, order, and that in the gym we're all the same. One rule of boxing is who knows the most, teaches him who least. And one of the first teachings is that if the strongest hits the weakest, he is a coward. Those are values that I doubt will promote many of the contemporary activities of the state sports area.
OP: I won my bottom fights with what I learned in boxing . Because I was bad boxing, I fell into the boxing journalism that made me a man. I'm a boxing man who learned from his credibility and that made me credible with people. I'm not a journalist who works writing about boxing. I'm a boxing man in boxing criticism.
Publication Date: 17/03/2021
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