MATEO Tapia has all the tools to compete at the highest level in his division.
Signed to one of the leading management firms in the world, MTK Global, Tapia (8-0, 5 KOs) has aligned himself with some major players in the industry.
While positive association often equals success, pure fighting ability certainly helps, which the Mexican-born Sydney resident has an abundance of.
The 20-year-old will face his third successive opponent with an unbeaten record on Friday night, squaring off with the highly-touted Adam Copland (4-0, 2 KOs) at the Horden Pavilion.
“It’s an honour to fight at an iconic venue like the Hordern Pavilion,” Tapia told Aus-Boxing.
“I never would’ve thought that I’d be in this position. It goes to show what hard work does, especially when you do the right thing.”
In spite of his age and relative inexperience as a professional, Tapia sees no issue with taking hard fights, as his record shows.
When quizzed on his mentality going into another evenly-matched fight, the unbeaten prospect offered a simple response.
“I just like the thrill of being in a man-to-man fight,” he explained.
“Copland doesn’t want to lose his zero and he’ll fight with an intensity that I like. I don’t need easy fights and theres no point having them. You may as well test the waters early.
“He’s got a good reach, decent footwork and he knows how to use both to his advantage. This is what I want.”
Tapia is still early into his career, but understands the importance of having the right people around him.
This includes head-trainer Tony Del Vecchio, who has worked with several high-profile fighters, including an existing long-term relationship with IBF super bantamweight champion, TJ Doheny.
“We’ve grown with each other really well,” he added.
“He’s brought out a confidence in me that I’ve never had in my life and he’s making me grow into a man.
“I know it’s a working process and you never know with boxing, but it makes me feel good knowing that I’m in good hands. Everything can turn in a second, you never know.
“That’s why I make sure that I keep my head down and that I keep focussed and training hard.”
Australian boxing often struggles to have televised cards with regularity, but luckily for Tapia, he’ll now have had back-to-back fights broadcast on live television.
The platform is one that he isn’t taking for granted, given the large audience expected on Friday night.
“I guess it’s good in a way because more people are viewing my fights,” he said.
“To be fighting on a big card with other prospects feels awesome and it’s such a big event. I know a lot of people will be watching, especially rugby league fans.
“The footy fans like knockouts and I can give them that. Even though I don’t look for it, I can get them because I’m able to do it.”
While he refuses to look past Copland, Tapia does see a future against the best names at super middleweight domestically.
“I’m not far off, I don’t think. They’ve obviously heard my name,” he concluded.
“All those boys are on different paths. You don’t know when, or if, I’ll ever fight them. But after this fight, I think I’ll be up there. Especially fighting a guy like Copland, whose got wraps on him.
“If I take his record, it’s another confidence builder for me. And thats what you need.”
Photo: Warren S Photography