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Making Jack Candelaria a Knockout Community Center

City starts renovation and expansion at historic boxing gym and adjacent park
December 06, 2023

On Tuesday, Mayor Tim Keller, City leaders, and members of the local boxing community came together to celebrate the start of renovations at the Jack Candelaria Community Center and Boxing Training Facility.

This marks the beginning of a new $6.3 million renovation to the historic boxing gym. For six decades, the Jack Candelaria Community Center has been home to boxers training for local, national, and world championship fights. Boxers Johnny Tapia and Danny Romero both trained at the center, as did national Golden Gloves champions Stephanie Jaramillo, Albert Ruelas, Anthony Contreras and Joseph Brady.

“A lot of us relied on this gym as a place to go instead of getting into trouble. I know a lot of us today wouldn’t be here without this gym,” said undefeated NABA Champion Matthew “Diamond Boy” Griego. 

“Generations of Burqueños have grown up here and trained here, becoming champions both in and out of the ring,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Our investment in this facility will ensure that Albuquerque’s youth continue to have opportunities to learn from the great legacy of this place and the community leaders who have dedicated their lives to bettering our city.”

The renovation will add 3,200-square-feet of new space to the center, which will include a larger gym with newer equipment. The remodel will also add:

  • A new I.T. room
  • An improved kitchen
  • A new entryway and staff office
  • New workout equipment
  • Three new boxing rings
  • Improvements to the playground and parking lot

Crucially, though, the character of the gym will not change. The murals, medals, heavy bags and speed bags will remain.

The remodel of the Jack Candelaria Community Center will continue the legacy of Jack Candelaria, a community leader in San Jose who helped the neighborhood grow and thrive. The San Jose Community Center was renamed in his honor in 1997. Construction is expected to wrap up in late summer of 2024.

Along with the Jack Candelaria Community Center, the adjacent South San Jose Park will soon get a refresh as well. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department is reviewing designs for a remodel of the historic park.


A rendering of the new and improved Jack Candelaria community center with three boxing rings, fitness space, a new computer lab, and a half-court gym. A man with a black jacket that says "south San Jose Boxing" stands in the foreground of the Jack Candelaria boxing gym. In the background, Mayor Keller is speaking at a podium about the coming renovations.