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Mario Salazar Sr. Bio

Born in Camaguey, Cuba back in the late 50’s this man learned at an early age what adversity and loss feels like. His family lost everything during the communist revolution that took place in this Island nation and had to leave the country empty handed in order to seek freedom and a new life elsewhere. Now an immigrant without a country, adversity and a feeling of not belonging was a daily sensation he had to deal with.

Like gypsies the Salazar- Cruz family moved from country to country in order to find a place that reminded them of home. With a common language and a similar culture and landscape they finally found that home they’ve been longing for in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.


Little by little the feeling of belonging grew in him, however this was not an easy task, and one he had to fight for in order to gain acceptance and respect.

Fighting almost every day in school became a routine for an eight year old Mario who was treated as an outsider for years until his fists started earning him the respect of his peers.


This behavior lasted for many more years to come as he was often moved from one school to the next and the whole "fight in order to earn respect" routine would start for him  all over again.


His grandmother grew tired of being called to school everytime Mario would get into trouble and decided to buy him a pair of boxing gloves at the age of eleven in order to curve his fighting urge... and that’s when the true passion for the sport began.

With Mario's new pairs of Boxing gloves all of the kids in the neighborhood had found a new way of passing the time  and improvised boxing matches would take effect almost every weekend where kids would duke it out all night while parents cheered and watched the "fight cards" from their balconies.

It was better than TV!

Puerto Rico has a unique fighting culture and his Cuban-Mexican heritage along with the Puerto Rican style of boxing was the formula for what became his style of fighting.

Street fighting was very commonplace back then and when Mario wasn’t boxing with someone, he challenged others at caserios (projects).

These “sparring sessions” just helped him as learning experience  and taught him “the hard way”, the street way.

He joined the United States Marine Corps at the age of eighteen and there he learned the fundamentals of Boxing for the first time from experienced boxing coaches and participated in many Marine Corps boxing tournaments.

After the Corps, Mario went back to his adoptive home in Puerto Rico and there he kept refining his Boxing skills by training with some of the best Boxing coaches of that era. Don Khan trainer of Alexis Arguello, Cano Rodriguez at the Malta Corona gym coach for Wilfredo Gomez, and John John Molina’s boxing gym in Fajardo Puerto Rico.


According to Don Khan, Mario had a relentless boxing puncher style similar to that of the legendary fighter Manos de Piedra Duran.

He competed in many local and national boxing tournaments in Puerto Rico and also learned through osmosis by sparring with professional boxers .  His skills as a relentless boxer resulted in being offered a pro boxing contract which after long consideration decided to turn down.

Mario had become a young entrepreneur and was the first person to own an all ladies gym in the Island way before any of the big exclusive women’s gyms of this era.

He grew his business to three locations and was also producing and directing a fitness TV program called Fitness Magazine in which he was also the host.

Longtime friend and educator Hector Cruz said about Mario... “Mario was way of ahead of the curve and was implementing fitness programs that were light years ahead of his time. He implemented similar training methods like the so called Boot camps and High Intensity Interval Training methods that are currently used at fitness facilities all over the world today.

Recently these methods in which Boxing is used along with cardio and weight exercises in a nonstop half an hour workout routine were used by Coach Mario as everyone calls him, many decades ago.


​He opened his first Body Circuit facility exclusively for women in Ponce, Puerto Rico which featured this “innovative” thirty minute concept of ”Boot Camp” or “HIIT” fitness routines.

His love for Boxing has continued to this day and has been coaching and training many young men and women in his very reputable Boxing academy called Warrior’s Pride Boxing for the past six years.


His unique training methods used at Warrior’s Pride Boxing Academy focus in teaching the correct foundation to the Sport of Boxing by implementing a curriculum with ten boxing fundamental skills that he instills in his fighters.  

Coach Mario continues to be ahead of the curve by being a very innovative businessman and Boxing Coach and has many more projects that will be shared with everyone real soon.

Mario is the proud father of his six sons and daughters and is married to the very beautiful an excellent Fitness and Nutrition expert Julia Buitrago owner of Body concept by Julia.

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