Hall Of Fame

CYBC’s Hall of Fame showcases the individuals that our scholarships are dedicated to. Since 2013 Chicago Youth Boxing Club has given out over $45,000 in scholarships.

Courage. Perseverance. Dignity.

Mario “Motts” Tonelli.

In 1915, Motts' life was at risk when a barrel full of burning garbage was thrown on top of him, knocking him unconscious. He awoke to find that his precious life had been lost suffering from torturous 3rd-degree burns and doctors proclaimed he would most likely never walk again. Mott's family was strong and determined. Instead of conceding to the sentence upon his son of a life crippled, and dependent on others, Celi, Motts’ father, built a makeshift wheelchair out of an old door, and Motts ‘physical rehabilitation began. Eventually, Motts was able to support his own weight, and with that, he was able to walk. Never forgetting what had happened, he saw it as a lesson that would ultimately prove decisive to both his success and survival. In 1937-1939, Motts played for the University of Notre Dame's storied football program, but his team did not win a national championship, but his career was successful with the Irish going 20-5-2. Coming from Chicago and obtaining almost legendary status as a football star, war was being waged around the world. Motts made the biggest sacrifice of his life by leaving for war, saying goodbye to his newlywed bride and his family behind. It was April 1942, one month after Motts was expected to return home, American troops were captured, and the soldiers were forced to march away from Bataan because the Japanese needed the area cleared for further assaults. Japanese troops forced the American soldiers to march over 100 miles without food or water. Those who could not keep up with the pace were stabbed or shot with bayonets and left to die on the road. Additionally, the Japanese beat and humiliated the US soldiers throughout the march. The Japanese lined prisoners to seize possessions, a Japanese soldier spotted the ring and waved his bayonet at Motts with his bayonet, a Japanese officer later approached Motts, speaking to him in English, asking if one of his soldiers had any of his belongings. Returning the ring, the officer confessed that he knew Notre Dame Football and that he had watched their team beat USC in 1937. After being tortured continuously over the next three years and in July 1945, the war came to an end. Motts and his fellow haggard bastards of Bataan were finally freed.

Motts return home from the war and intended to return to football, having to undergo two surgeries to repair his stomach and intestines, secondary trauma, and parasites that ravaged his body. The owner and chairman of the Chicago Cardinals paid him a personal visit and asked him to come back. He was still suffering from malaria and schistosomiasis, Motts’ return took place on October 28th, 1945, against the Green Bay Packers, and he managed to play through two downs, although the plays weren’t as dramatic as his famous 70-yard run against USC to win the game. After one more astounding feat. Motts never played football again, but next, he enjoyed success as a politician and family man. Motts was elected the youngest commissioner in Cook County history and also led a distinguished 42-year career in politics and public service until he retired in 1988. He passed away in early 2003 from a distal esophageal/cardia cancer that was likely a manifestation of the parasitic infections and surgeries he endured as a result of the war. Motts prized education and spent his retirement speaking at Chicago-area high schools encouraging students and athletes to build character and achieve excellence through hard work, discipline, and dedication. By helping the Chicago Youth Boxing Club raise money for educational scholarships and to support the After-School Boxing program.

“Father Figure To Many, An Open Door To All”

Victor Rodriguez

Victor Rodriguez, 52 devoted to his family, community, and an advocate for social justice, and a well-known pastor at La Villita Community Church. Born in Durango, Mexico, Pastor Vic’s life in Little Village began at age 9. In 2006, the Chicago Youth Boxing Club moved into the church, Pastor Vic became the executive director. A person with great passion, who treated everyone the same, with care and love. His church keeps youth off the streets by serving as the center for the Chicago Youth Boxing Club. Under his leadership, his church also hosted countless tattoo removal sessions. His efforts in establishing positive relations between the communities of North Lawndale and South Lawndale earned him the reputation as a peacekeeper. Pastor Victor made sure to give everyone the time they needed, even if that meant waking up in the middle of the night. His place in the community is honored by a mural on 22nd Street which bears his picture and mission.

“Save these kids, get them off the street”

“Don’t mess with Coach Chupi, he’s the tough one.”

William “Chupi” Rodriguez

Coach Chupi loved boxing and he loved to train. He came to CYBC from the famous Windy City Boxing where legends were made in the early 1970s. Coach Chupi arrived at CYBC in 2007 and volunteered for a year before he was hired as Senior Coach. Chupi had an eye for raw talent and you knew when he was in the gym because of his loudness and salsa music. Chupi’s style of training was unique and he used music to show the boxers how to move their feet. Coach Chupi worked at Temple Steel and then would come to the boxing club every day to end his day. He loved the youth and invested in many of their lives with time and money. He was a very giving man. Coach Chupi died June 15, 2015, he was the old cranky man in all the boxing movies but was greatly loved by CYBC.