Troubled boxing star found dead in SA gym

Body of Tony Ayala Jr. found inside Zarzamora Street Boxing Gym

SAN ANTONIO – Investigators are working to determine the cause of death of a former San Antonio boxer.

Tony Ayala Jr.'s body was found Tuesday morning inside the Zarzamora Street Boxing Gym.

Those who knew him were shocked to hear that he was found dead.

"It is a big tragedy," said Frankie Randazzo, with the Randazzo Brothers Gym. "We were really surprised to hear the news."

Ayala's body was discovered at the same gym founded by his father, boxing trainer Tony Ayala Sr.

Two-time Golden Glove champion Johnny Thomas said he trained with Tony Ayala Jr. and knew both him and his father.

"Him and his dad (both) taught me a lot about the sport," said Thomas. "To see him pass away, it was kind of hurtful because I knew him."

Tony Ayala Jr. was once a rising star in the boxing world and was a former top contender for a world title until he was arrested on a charge of rape in New Jersey in 1983.

He was convicted of the crime and served 16 years in prison.

Randazzo said Tony Ayala Jr. was running a gym and appeared to be back on track.

"Only heaven knows what could have happened, what would have happened," said Randazzo. "But I think he would have reached out to the stars and taken them and run with them. I think he would have accomplished a lot."

"He was really trying to do great things," said Henry Rodriguez, a family friend. "But, unfortunately, this is it. His life is over."

Image courtesy of fightsports.gr.

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