SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio boxing legend Jesse Leija, the father of former world champion “Jesse” James Leija, has died. He was 80 years old.
Leija Jr. posted on Facebook that his father had passed away with a tribute that read:
Words cannot describe the heartache. My dad and hero passed away this morning. He is now resting and is pain free. Dad, thank you for all that you did for us. I love you and will always have you in my heart.
Leija Sr. was an influential figure in the San Antonio boxing and sports community for decades.
He won the Texas Golden Gloves championship and was the first San Antonian to fight in the national Golden Gloves competition, according to the Hispanic Sports Foundation for Education.
After an amateur and professional career, Leija trained his son throughout his career and helped him win multiple titles, including the WBC super-featherweight title.
Jesse Leija was inducted into the San Antonio Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014.
Funeral services have not been announced.