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‘Johnny’ to begin production soon

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Johnny Tapia's brilliant boxing career and his turbulent life will be the subject of a movie, to be filmed in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of Matthias Koenigswieser)

Johnny Tapia’s brilliant boxing career and his turbulent life will be the subject of a movie, to be filmed in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of Matthias Koenigswieser)

First, there was “Tapia.”

Soon, there will be “Johnny.”

A feature film depicting the turbulent life of the late Johnny Tapia, a five-time world boxing champion from Albuquerque’s Wells Park neighborhood, will begin filming in late July.

The New Mexico Film Office made the announcement Friday. The movie will be filmed in Albuquerque and is expected to employ hundreds of New Mexicans, said Nick Maniatis, film office director.

Eddie Alcazar, who earlier filmed the award-winning documentary “Tapia,” will direct the feature film. Actor Shiloh Fernandez will portray the young Tapia.

According to a film office news release, the film will focus on Tapia’s rise to contender status; his precipitous, cocaine-fueled fall from grace in 1990 at age 23; and his struggle to reclaim his life and career.

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