Stockton PYA Boxing Founder Frank Dobales Passes Away

Frank Dobales will forever be remembered for his impact upon Stockton, California boxing as the founder and volunteer head trainer of the Stockton Police Youth Activities program for six decades.

Dobales, who passed away at the age of 91-years-old at the Stockton hospital on Tuesday, last week, due to complications from COVID-19.

The passing came sadly a little over a month after Stockton PYA lightweight Manuel Jaimes won the WBC lightweight youth title, with the current head of Stockton PYA gym, Steve Salas taking him to such an impressive feat.

Salas, who took over the gym in 2012 said in an article for the Stockton Record, the passion Dobales had was similar to a boxing trainer straight out of a movie.

In fact, most who knew him compared him to Mickey from the movie Rocky.

Dobales was raised in Firebaugh but moved to Stockton as a youth. Dobales made his bones working as a longshoreman, and began a boxing career as a bantamweight based on a friendly conversation someone had with him, as Stockton promoter Billy Hunefeld asked him to fill in for a fighter who didn’t show up. Dobales did just that.

Dobales was drafted to the Korean War, and was injured on the battlefield in 1952 ending his boxing career. With a Purple Heart in hand, and a desire to help the youth, Dobales started the Stockton PYA Boxing Gym in 1963.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle