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Mexican wrestling legend will remain local despite executive job

Ian Hodgkinson, also known as Vampiro, will continue his work with local youth despite having been named head of talent relations for Lucha Libre FMV on the eve of its Netflix launch.
Vampiro Web
Ian Hodgkinson (aka Vampiro) will continue working in the city's south core three days per week despite having landed an executive position with Lucha Libre FMV.

THUNDER BAY -- Local professional wrestler Vampiro was named an executive with Lucha Libre FMV on Monday but Ian Hodgkinson insists he'll still have time for his local community work.

Hodgkinson will head up talent relations for Lucha Libre FMV, overseeing talent scouting and development as well as coordinating live events for the Mexican wrestling league. He will continue colour commentating with Lucha Underground, which is slated to make its Netflix debut on Wednesday.  

"The business is evolving, the company is growing, and the industry is changing. They needed to create this position and there was really no one else who had my qualifications," he said. 

"After so many years as a character, performer then a producer and a writer, it's the ring on the finger-type-thing. This is exactly what I was made to do. It's what I do best." 

According to the league, the Vampiro character is "the most successful foreign talent in the history of Lucha Libre in Mexico," having held 22 world titles since 1984.

Hodgkinson will continue operating his martial arts school on May Street, splitting his time equally with the demands of professional wrestling. He sees the two as complementary.   

"Teaching my students helps me understand how to guide professional wrestlers and guiding professional wrestlers teaches me how to manage my school," he said.   

There has been a transformation, however, in the local Guardian Angels chapter Hodgkinson founded in 2014. He still performs guest speeches and liaison work for the organization in various cities but where he initially sought to make the effort a street presence, he has come to see other organizations filling that gap effectively.    

"Our presence in the streets, I really don't think it's necessary at this point," he said. "I do think it's important that people know we have a place. It's in my martial arts school 112 North May Street -- where people can come and get help. If they need guidance, we know where to point them. We're in touch with pretty much everyone." 

Hodgkinson sees a lot of local young people whose lacking outlet is making them introverted and depressed. He's refocusing his efforts on the principles that he believes makes the Guardian Angels strong as a lifestyle response to online bullying and purposelessness. 

Through programs for women at risk, youth and mixed martial arts, he foresees his mission becoming more successful.

"My presence in Thunder Bay is stronger than ever and I'm making a push: anybody in this town -- it doesn't matter what your business is or what school you go to or where your community is -- I have outreach programs for you," he said.

"I'm not going to bang down your door anymore begging to help. If you need help and you think what I have to offer is of benefit to you and your community, all you have to do is call me and I will be there."