Willy Salazar: The Tricky Argentine Boxer’s Incredible Journey

Willy Salazar, born Wilibaldo Salazar, was a Mexican professional boxer who carved out an impressive career spanning from 1979 to 1997. Despite never winning a world title, his journey was nothing short of remarkable, filled with memorable battles against some of the biggest names in the sport.

Hailing from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Salazar turned professional on December 14, 1979, and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the lower weight divisions. His slick boxing skills, coupled with his ability to slow the pace down to a crawl, made him a nightmare for many opponents.

One of Salazar’s most notable achievements was his victory over the highly-touted Johnny Tapia in 1995. Tapia, a future Hall of Famer, was the reigning WBO super flyweight champion at the time. Salazar, the underdog, pulled off a stunning seventh-round TKO victory, earning him the “Upset of the Year” accolade from Ring Magazine.

Despite this monumental win, Salazar’s quest for a world title remained elusive. He came agonizingly close on multiple occasions, holding regional titles such as the NABF light flyweight, the Mexican National flyweight and super flyweight, and the WBC Continental Americas super flyweight belts.

Salazar’s tricky style and ability to frustrate opponents earned him victories over former and future champions throughout his career. He handed two-time world champion Danny Romero his first professional loss, further cementing his reputation as a formidable opponent.

While he may not have captured a world title, Salazar’s impact on the sport cannot be understated. His battles against the likes of Sot Chitalada, Sung-Kil Moon, and Marco Antonio Barrera are etched in boxing folklore, showcasing his resilience and unwavering determination.

In the twilight of his career, Salazar continued to defy the odds, earning a shot at the WBC super flyweight title against the highly-regarded Hiroshi Kawashima in 1997. Although he fell short in his bid for a world championship, Salazar’s performance was a testament to his enduring spirit and love for the sport.

Willy Salazar’s journey through the boxing ranks may not have been adorned with world titles, but his legacy as a skilled technician and a thorn in the side of many champions will forever be etched in the annals of boxing history.


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