The City Council of Antigua, from the Department of Sports, participates in the organization of the Tribute to the Canarian Wrestling, scheduled for this Sunday, August 28, from 11:00 a.m., in the Municipal Terrero. This initiative of the fans of the municipality wants to recognize fighters such as José Luis Ramón Cabrera, better known as Pepe Luis “el Conejero”, Domingo Berriel, and Juan Alberto Hernández posthumously, in addition to directors Vicente González Santana and Fermín Salvador Hernández Fránquiz, this also posthumously.
The tribute will be followed by the celebration of the Great Fight between Singles and Married, with the participation of outstanding fighters such as Francisco Javier González Pérez and Gregorio Gil Cruz, both from Tenerife, and the main props of Antigua and Fuerteventura in the decades of the 70s and 80s.
The Great Fight between Singles and Marrieds also has the presence of Pedro Cano Clavijo and Juan Salvador Fránquiz, both from Fuerteventura, and outstanding props in the 90s.
It will be, “without a doubt, a day in honor of the Canarian wrestling, emotional and exciting; A recognition from the cradle of the Canarian wrestling as Antigua is,” said the mayor of Antigua, Matías Peña. Fernando Estupiñán, Councilor for Sports, invited people to participate in this event, part of the Festivities in Honor of Our Lady of La Antigua, and “to celebrate the Tribute and the Great Fight with the toast that will take place in the same field, with a good paella and meat with potatoes for all the fans”.
What is Lucha Canaria?
Of all the traditional local sports in the Canary Islands, there can be no doubt that it is the Canary wrestling that is still the most popular through to this day. The oldest chronicles with respect to the islands made allusion to this sport practised by the islanders and passed down from one generation to the next. According to the Chronicles, these wrestling bouts were organised to solve conflicts with respect to land and other matters.
The tradition is as alive as it was centuries back. The same rites and rituals have been maintained although the matches are now organised for sporting reasons only and in areas specially designed for the same, types of arenas called “terreros”. On these arenas, the wrestlers try to tumble their opponent, using skill often more than sheer strength. The winner is the wrestler who manages to floor his opponent making them touch the arena with any part of their body.
Although this is a type of combat, respect for one’s adversary is the essence itself of the sport. Nobility, respect for the loser, team spirit and regard for the rules are all tacit elements of Canary wrestling. Each time a wrestler is tumbled, the winning opponent helps him up and hugs him respectfully before abandoning the arena.
Wrestlers can be big tough-looking guys and many of them are a fair size. However, to be a wrestler, you don’t only have to be strong but to be agile, to catch your opponent’s weak points and use them to good effect to knock him off balance. Wrestling matches are organised by rounds that bring together opponents from two teams who are eliminated as they fall in the various bouts. Wrestlers grasp each other by the clothes at the beginning of the bout and when the referee gives the go ahead, they set to, to try and tumble their rival to the ground.
The teams of Canary wrestling are organised by the Federation, set up in 1943, into regional and island competitions.