Tapia’s Tragic Story Headed to the Big Screen

He’s was as one of the most successful Chicano boxers… And now a new biopic will shine a spotlight on Johnny Tapia’s life and death.

Entitled Johnny, the indie filmbased on true events of Tapia’s early years—will shed new light on his tragic story. The five-time world champion boxer started fighting in the ring at age nine, becoming a star in the late 1990s after winning titles in the WBO Super flyweight and WBO Bantamweight divisions.

Johnny Tapia

Tapia’s life had a streak of tragedy even as he fought to stand his ground against what life threw at him. His father was murdered while he was still in the womb and his mother was brutally kidnapped, raped and murdered when he was eight.

Tapia’s childhood traumas led to a life of drug addiction. When he was 40, Tapia suffered an overdose from cocaine abuse, and his brother-in-law and nephew were killed in a car accident on the way to see him at the hospital.

Red Riding Hood actor Shiloh Fernandez has signed on to play Tapia, who was found dead in his Albuquerque home on May 27, 2012 at the age of 45.

Eddie Alcazar is directing the indie, and co-writing the script with Bettina Gilois.

Filming onJohnny, which was already in development for months before his recent passing, is expected to start in 2013.