Matadors gear up for new season of bullfighting in Spain

Matadors gear up for new season of bullfighting in Spain

Baku, April 24, AZERTAC

The newest Mexican matador Isaac Fonseca, who has already made an impression in Europe, is gearing up for the beginning of the new bullfighting season in Spain on May 15.

The 24-year-old matador is currently training mentally and physically for the sport, which Fonseca described as a childhood dream to make his mark in bullfighting, which is deeply rooted in Spanish culture.

"I want them to know that an Isaac Fonseca wants to succeed in Europe, to conquer this place," he told Anadolu.

Fonseca is well-known in Europe after his spectacularly brave two strong seasons as a novillero in France and Spain in the previous two years, and he is now preparing for the new season in Spain, which already began in late March but will intensify in May.

He will perform as a matador for the first time in Las Ventas Arena in Madrid on May 15, which he considers the world’s most important and beautiful arena.

"The audience is very demanding, and the bulls are the strongest," he said.

Though bullfighting is prohibited in the autonomous regions of Catalonia, the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands, other regions recognize it as a "cultural value."

"I first entered an arena with my grandfather when I was seven years old. It was an extraordinary and magical moment because I was not afraid and enjoyed the moment where I felt like the world's happiest and strongest child," said the young Mexican matador, who lives in the Flor de Jara bull farm in Colmenar Viejo town, about 45 kilometers (approximately 28 miles) from Madrid.

He began the sport in Mexico, then moved to Spain in 2018 to better prepare, making significant sacrifices and dedicating his life to bullfighting, he said.

Fonseca reached the fourth and the highest level of matador titles in August 2022.

The competition in Spain is tough, particularly since he is a foreigner, Fonseca said, adding that "it is hard to be among the elite matadors, which are the high-level ones."

"There are around 500 matadors in Spain, but only 10 of them are in the elite class. While an average matador earns €9,000 (about $9,915) to €15,000 (about $16,525) per fight, and a high-level one earns around €100,000 (about $110,170)."

Fonseca, who has at least five stitch marks from wounds around his legs, hips, and belly, has also expressed his intention to continue performing as a professional matador for up to 10 years to prove himself.

The young matador also weighed in on the critics of animal rights organizations.

"Toro de lidia (fighter bull) or toro bravo (successful bull) are species that exist for defying matadors and dying in the arena, they are not animals used for commercial purposes as meat," he argued, adding that this is an aggressive animal.

"Matadors and bulls risk their lives,” Fonseca said, adding that “Bulls die, but so do matadors."

He explained that the death of a bull is significant because society wishes to conceal the death.

Though the number of bullfights has decreased, the sport still contributes more than €4 billion (approximately $4.41 billion) to the Spanish economy.

The sport is organized from March to October.

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