If you’ve ever been to a Bobby DePhillippis show you quickly notice that the atmosphere is quite different from most other club shows. There’s a lot of handshaking and backslapping going on.
“There’s a real camaraderie at our shows. Most of my customers don’t even ask who’s fighting,” said DePhillippis. “They come because they know it’s going to be a good show and a good time. Everybody leaves with a smile on their face.”
On Thursday evening at Swiss Park in Chula Vista, “Bobby D Presents” brings boxing back to San Diego with former amateur standout, Aaron Garcia (7-1, 2KO’s), headlining “Battle De Mayo”, a card full of up and comers like promising super featherweight Emilio Bojorquez (9-1, 7 KO’s) out of Tijuana.
DePhillippis has been putting on shows in San Diego since the early-eighties, also managing fighters like James “The Heat” Kinchen, world champion Jesus Salud, Orlin Norris and Tony “Bazooka” De Luca.
DePhillippis a.k.a. “Bobby D” started by putting on cards in a roller skating rink and eventually moved on to a successful four year run at the El Cortez convention center until the building was sold. “We had a lot of wonderful fighters on our shows,” recalled DePhillippis. “Guys like James Kinchen, Jesus Salud, Terry Norris, Paul Vaden and Tony “Bazooka” De Luca all fought on our cards.”
His relatively new company, Bobby D. Presents, has been staging shows at different locations for years but have yet to find a permanent home for year-round boxing. “Finding a good venue in San Diego has been a struggle,” said DePhillippis. “They’re either too small or too expensive. Our audiences have been growing so we need a venue that can accommodate our regulars as well as our new attendees.”
DePhillippis’ partner, Gabriel Barron, has made strides in marketing to new customers using both traditional and newer methods. “We do everything from visiting businesses and putting up posters to handing out flyers,” said Barron. “We also use email blasts and the internet to market our shows. We’ve been getting a very positive response.”
Growing up around boxing with his father Roberto made DePhillippis think about pursuing the sport momentarily until reality set in. “My father managed Ken Norton, Bobby Valdez and many other fighters,” he stated. “I used to work out with some of the guys and I wanted to box. But at that time, we didn’t have much money and I was working twelve hours a day, six days a week, so there wasn’t time for boxing.”
Instead, DePhillippis chose to get involved behind the scenes as part of the industry he’s grown to appreciate. “I’ve made a lot of good friends through boxing. Friends like Dean Lohuis who I’ve known for more than twenty years. I’ve traveled to Europe four or five times and all over the U.S. It’s been a lot of fun,” he recounted. “For me it’s been about the fun. I know there are managers who take money from their fighters off the top. I never did that. I’ve never been in it to make a dollar. I do it because I really enjoy the sport.”
Although he keeps busy with several restaurants he owns and his role as the director of a bank, he’s recently branched out into music as the lead singer of “The Sound Doctors”. “We sing some Latin music, some oldies and some soul,” said DePhillippis, who’ll be performing with the band during intermission at the “Battle De Mayo”. “We play a few times a month in different places around San Diego. We could play more if we wanted to but it’s basically an outlet to have a good time.”
For those who’ve never been to a Bobby D show, DePhillippis promises a memorable night. “Expect a lot of action and expect to have a fun night. We put on an exciting show with evenly matched fights,” he stated. “We have quality fighters on the card from all over southern California and Mexico. Our goal is to make sure people enjoy themselves and spread the word. Once they come, our hope is that they become regulars at our future shows. This is all for the fans. It’s their night.”
“Battle De Mayo” takes place at the Swiss Park in Chula Vista, California. Tickets start at only $10.00. For ticket info call 619-420-8866. Doors open at 6pm. First fight is at 7 p.m. There will be six bouts with Aaron Garcia (7-1, 2KO’s), taking on Gilberto Luque (7-5, 3 KO’s) as the main event.
NOTE: DePhillippis has notified The Sweet Science that Thursday's show has been moved up one week to May 29th. Times remain the same.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?