Panama, Latin America and the boxing world woke up this Friday morning, August 11, with sad news: Francisco ‘Tolete’ Arroyo, trainer and forger of several world champions passed away at the age of 60.
Arroyo entered the boxing world as a fighter in 1982. In professional boxing he fought 24 times, winning 15 fights (6 KO’s), losing 8 and drawing 1. He fought in countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Indonesia. His greatest achievement as an athlete was to become Intercontinental Bantamweight Champion.
After his retirement in 1993, he dedicated himself to work as a trainer, being one of the precursors of the last great glorious period of Panamanian boxing between 2005 and 2010. During those years, as the main manager of the technical part of Rogelio Espiño’s stable ‘Los Rockeros’, he worked very close with the universal champions of the World Boxing Association (WBA), Vicente ‘El Loco’ Mosquera, Celestino ‘Pelenchín’ Caballero, Ricardo ‘Maestrito’ Córdoba and Luis ‘el Nica’ Concepción.
He also had a hand in the formation and development of other great Panamanian champions such as Roberto ‘La Araña’ Vásquez and Anselmo ‘Chemito’ Moreno, as well as Venezuelans Jorge ‘Niño de Oro’ Linares, Nehomar Cermeño and Jean Piero Pérez.
Arroyo, who spoke little to the media, but with a jovial character, knew how to win the affection of everyone who worked with him. He was also a great friend and ally of the WBA, always participating in the KO to Drugs Festivals held in Panama and other Latin American countries.
Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, President of the WBA expressed his sadness at the passing of Arroyo, whom he considered a friend, as well as a great motivator before his great exhibition bouts that he held in his time against figures such as Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Evander Holyfield, among others.
“Tolete was for me a great motivator and street psychologist. With his famous ‘get the x…’ he made me face my fears in front of Trinidad, De La Hoya and Holyfield. Every time he saw me nervous he looked for a way to make me feel like you’re already in the ring…. You’ve got the nerve… and we’re going to move forward,” Mendoza said.
According to Mendoza, Arroyo always told him that he liked the way he threw his hook and his right uppercut.
“He was a great human being, funny, but respectful, hardworking and a dreamer. He was key and the spark plug in a good era for Panamanian boxing,” Mendoza stressed.
Arroyo was just as Mendoza describes him. Undoubtedly one of the most charismatic figures that has had the Creole boxing in recent years and who this Friday lost his last fight against a cancer he was battling for months. Peace to his soul!!!