Local legend and seven-time Mr. Mexico reflects on career


Santos Ramos is a man who has dedicated his life to bodybuilding.

Not only did Ramos win the Mr. Mexico title seven times, he also participated in Mexican wrestling for several years as a masked wrestler “Guerrero Azteca” or “Aztec Warrior”.

Ramos, who owns Iron Body Gym in Laredo, spoke with LMT about his experience in bodybuilding and success as a wrestler.

get his start

Originally from Valladales, Coahuila, Mexico, Ramos moved to Nuevo Laredo when his mother died.

“I came here in 1965 and started working for Industrias Unidas when I was 17. This company manufactures oils, soaps, ice, tin and wood packaging,” he said. I was. “I met some people working out at the gym at Club Atlético Nuevo Laredo.

Ramos said that shortly after the company he worked for went on strike and he had to find another job, he started selling products instead.

“At that time, I already had a card to go to the United States. Then I went over to Laredo and bought five or six chickens, which I later sold at a restaurant,” Ramos said. “Then we bought an old car and instead of five chickens he bought and sold a box of chickens and it worked.”

Ramos said a new business opportunity presented itself and it changed his life forever.

“Manuel Campos, owner of the Club Atlético Nuevo Laredo Gym on Calle Arteaga and Calle Matamoros, said he wanted to sell it for 12,000 Mexican pesos, equivalent to about $1,000,” he said. “I was interested in buying it and I told him I had $500 but he said I needed the full amount. I did.”

Ramos added that although he is proud of his achievements, he will have to face new challenges.

“I’m so glad I’m already a gym owner, but Campos said I had to pay the rent for the facility at the end of the month and gave instructions,” he said. “However, the owner of the property warned that the property had already been sold and that Campos was already aware of this and that he must leave the premises immediately, so he has 15 days to sell the property. I had to surrender.”

Undeterred, Ramos headed to Plaza Hidalgo, where he bought a newspaper, sat down to read classifieds, and tried to find a new location for his gym.

“There was a warehouse rented on the streets of Independencia and Renosa. “I was there from 1971 to 1982, and I bought a property in front of Plaza de Charo on Boulevard Bolivar and Boulevard America. Changed to International Gym. “

Ramos said he later purchased another property on Washington Street and Leandro Valle Street, where he founded Golden Gym.

In late 1989, Ramos and his family moved to Laredo and partnered with Ruperto Villarreal to establish the Olympia Gym in Hillside.

“We lasted about seven years, but things got complicated when Rupert’s dad passed away, so we decided to sell and opened this Iron Body Gym on Gale Street in 2004.

bodybuilding

Ramos said he has been committed to moving his body since he started working out in 1966.

“I’ve always liked physical activity. I quit school and went outside to play ball instead of staying at home like other kids,” he said. When I started going to the gym, I wanted to take a break from work and go exercise because I needed to release all my energy.”

Ramos won the Mr. Laredo title in the novice division in 1967 and competed again the following year to win the absolute Mr. Laredo. Although he participated in other regional competitions each year, he didn’t win his first Mr. Mexico title until 1973, but it was never an absolute.

“That year I won my category, which was median weight and height,” Ramos said. “Then I came back in 1974 and came second. It was 1976. This win allowed me to go to Canada for Mr. Universe.”

Ramos won back-to-back Mr. Mexico in 1977, 1978 and 1979, but failed to win the title in 1980 and 1981. He said that year Nuevo he focused on establishing a gym in Laredo. However, he returned to the top with victories in his 1982, 1983 and 1984.

His victory allowed him to represent Mexico in the Mr. Universe competition in Montreal, Canada. Paris, France; Acapulco, Mexico. Columbus, Ohio. and Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 1977, he won the title of Mr. Latin America in Acapulco, Mexico.

Bodybuilding is a very demanding sport for Ramos.

“It’s a very costly sport. At the 1984 competition, I went without water for 36 hours. The purpose of this is to tear the muscles more,” he said. I drank 30 egg whites and coffee in the morning, and ate grilled chicken or boiled fish during the day.”

He said many have given up on these sacrifices.

“If you want to win, you have to make sacrifices and endure. It’s very hard. It’s not like other sports,” he said. “Plus, it’s not very financially profitable because you don’t get as many sponsors and big payouts as other sports. bottom.”

He said those who win the title of Mr. Olympia are getting paid the best because they can earn up to $500,000.

Ramos is primarily proud of his accomplishments, as he is the only Mexican to win the title seven times.

“My greatest satisfaction is winning against Mr. Mexico seven times,” he said. “Everybody wants to win and he has worked so hard to get at least one win and I won seven of his.”

Ramos started working out in 1966, started competing in 1967, and continued until 1985.

aztec warrior

Ramos is an entrepreneur who, in addition to working at the gym, has started businesses with two sportswear stores. However, having the ring set up in the gym started him training to become a wrestler.

He then decided to call himself the masked wrestler “Guerrero Azteca”.

“I combined bodybuilding and wrestling,” he said. For about a year and a half, my fighter friend, Sangre Chicana, and I started doing somersaults on the same day. I only wrestled on the weekends because I asked the promoters not to have matches on weekdays because I had to prepare for it.

Ramos wrestled wrestling matches in Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey, Torreon and Mexico City.

“I fought alongside great fighters like El Solitario, Aníbal, El Hijo del Santo and Mil Mascaras. Ramos said. “And then I fought with ‘El Perro Aguayo’, ‘Sangre Chicana’, ‘Los Dinamita’ and other famous rudes of the time.”

Ramos lost his mask to wrestler Salvador Cuevas, who was also involved in bodybuilding.

“In the 1976 Mr. Mexico tournament, I played against ‘El Supremo’ of Salvador Cuevas. He and I were favorites along with another contestant from Puebla. I won and Cuevas retired from bodybuilding and focused on wrestling,” Ramos said. “When we faced each other in the ring, he took my mask off. When they announced it, he said, ‘You beat me in the Mr. I took off my mask.”

When asked if he prefers bodybuilding or wrestling, Ramos said he prefers bodybuilding because wrestling carries the risk of serious injury.

“I feel like people’s admiration for bodybuilding is growing,” Ramos said. “But in wrestling, when you win, you get applause, but the risk of injury is higher.”

One of his greatest satisfactions as a wrestler was fighting at Arena Mexico in Mexico City.

“Fighting at Arena Mexico is a victory for anyone who goes into wrestling. Only the best get there, so for me it’s a reason to be proud,” he said. It’s like fighting in Las Vegas.”

hall of fame

Throughout his life Ramos has won many awards. He is a member of the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame in Laredo. In his hometown of Valladares, a plaque was also installed recognizing him as the only Mexican to hold the title of Mr. Mexico seven times.

Sports commentator Fernando Laurel said many people at Los dos Laredos identified with Ramos.

“I can’t help but be proud that one of our teams has reached the Mr. Mexico Championship seven times and has also won Mr. Latin America several times, representing Mexico on Mr. Universe,” said Laurel. I was.

For Laurel, wrestling is also known in Mexico, so Ramos’ participation in the National Pancracio is also significant.

“On the fighter side, he used a mask and called himself the ‘Aztec Warrior’ or ‘Guerrero Azteca. But Santos smiled and said that his identity was an open secret because of his impressive physique, and that everyone would know it was him. , Plaza de Toros Nuevo Laredo, Arena Cuatro Caminos, etc. and of course his match at Arena Mexico fought alongside the great men.”

According to Laurel, some of the recognition Ramos has received at the local level include: International Latin American Sports Hall of Fame in Laredo. Awarded by ACRONDE, Golden Chronicle of Nuevo Laredo. Nuevo Laredo’s Hall of Sports Merit.

Nationally, on December 2nd in Mexico, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Mexican Physical Constructivism and Fitness AC Federation.

Laurel emphasized the importance of having Ramos as a gym coach.

Future Plans

Ramos, now 74, said he plans to retire to Nuevo Laredo in the future.

“I think I will fix the gym in Nuevo Laredo and retire in that city without giving up the sport,” Ramos said.

Finally, Ramos had some advice for those who want to continue bodybuilding.

“My best recommendation to anyone practicing this sport is if you’ve already competed and won, keep going,” Ramos said. It’s a great sport if you just want to stay fit, but if you’re going to compete it’s a demanding sport and you have to sacrifice yourself.”

mcharur@lmtonline.com



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