Lectoure gained worldwide recognition – in a career spanning 31 years – for both himself and his primary venue, the storied Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Luna Park was opened in 1932 by Lectoure’s uncle – the first Argentine lightweight champion, Jose Lectoure – and Ismael Pace. The original arena lacked even a roof, but it was remodeled into a fully enclosed stadium, seating about 25,000.
Though he served in the army and attended college, Lectoure’s true calling was boxing, and early on he became involved in the operations of Luna Park. After Pace and Jose Lectoure died within five years of each other in the 1950s, Tito’s aunt put the nineteen-year-old Lectoure in charge of the arena. At first he worked under the tutelage of Luna Park’s official promoter, Juan Manuel Morales, but soon staged his first personally promoted card on September 14, 1956. It was an auspicious date – September 14 is “Boxer Day” to Argentine fight fans, celebrating Luis Firpo’s 1923 match against Jack Dempsey.
Lectoure staged an incredible two fights per week at Luna Park, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for 31 years, a total of 2,976 cards.
Lectoure’s impact on the world of boxing extended beyond Argentina. In 1966, he staged his first world title bout at Luna Park, pitting WBA flyweight champion Horacio Accavallo against former champ Hiryoki Ebihara in a sold-out fight. He promoted five world title fights at his arena for Nicolino Locche. By the end of his career, he had sponsored 24 world title fights at Luna Park. Perhaps the highlight of those two dozen bouts was the Carlos Monzon – Emile Griffith middleweight championship match in 1971, which set a South American box office record and was televised in the United States on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Twelve Argentine fighters became world champions while working under Lectoure’s promotion. In addition, Hall of Famers Archie Moore, Sandy Saddler, Kid Gavilan, Joe Brown, Carlos Ortiz, Ismael Laguna, Eder Jofre and Antonio Cervantes fought at Luna Park.
Highly respected for his business acumen, boxing knowledge and character, Lectoure left boxing in 1987.
He died on March 1, 2002 in Buenos Aires.
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Excerpted with permission from 'The Boxing Register' by James B. Roberts and Alexander G. Skutt, copyright © 1999 by McBooks Press. All rights reserved.