Lenny Zappavigna on US move: “It’s a dream come true”

POPULAR Aussie warrior, Lenny Zappavigna has had a big couple of weeks, perhaps the biggest of his life.

The 27-year-old Sydneysider has recently flown to the US to put pen to paper with promotional giant, Top Rank.

He has also packed up his house in Sydney found and furnished a place in Los Angeles where “Zappa” will base himself for his second foray into the US market.

He also speaks of the opportunities that lay ahead for him and his new partnership with Freddie Roach and the Wildcard Gym in Hollywood.

Lenny Zappavigna (33-2, 23 KOs) is a promoters dream. Tough, strong, relentless, with bricks in both hands. It is these attributes which has had people out of their seats at his fights marvelling at his fan friendly style of fighting.

It is perhaps these very qualities that have Top Rank licking their lips once the fierce Aussie pet pen to paper in an exclusive promotional contract which was signed off on by both parties last week in Los Angeles.

Zappavigna explains on how it all came about.

“Yeah I just thought it was time, time to step up and test myself against the best,” said Zappavigna in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing.

“I said to my manager Mike that I felt the only real way I was going to do that was to train with the best and be coached by the best. I felt that I had done everything I could fighting out of Australia,”

“Mike got in touch with his contacts at Top Rank and the rest is history,” added Zappavigna. “We are looking at fighting in July sometime and if all goes to planned a shot at a world title at the end of the year, it’s certainly in our plans,”

Zappavigna got back from Los Angeles this past Tuesday and said he has been proactive in establishing himself at two of the best gyms in California. He trained at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard and the Wildcard Gym in Hollywood ran by famed hall of fame trainer, Freddie Roach.

It was his experiences in the Wildcard Gym sparring Miguel Cotto and undefeated excitement machine, Frankie Gomez, that had Roach and his assistant coach, Marvin Somodio convinced him that he could cut it in the tough US market.

“Yeah the sparring was really great. I did some sessions with Miguel Cotto, who of course is fighting Daniel Geale this weekend in New York, and rising star, Frankie Gomez.” Zappavigna continued.

“Freddie said to me that I have been the only one to push Gomez on the back foot during sparring, so I think that pleased him a lot,”

“I knew this was a great opportunity to impress him and Marvin so I went in there and just went for it and let it all hang out. I had a pretty frank discussion with both guys toward the end of my trip and said that I would absolutely do anything they wanted me to do.”

“I managed to convince them and they have both asked me to come back permanently and said they would now look after me,” Zappavigna explained. “It’s a dream come true,”

Opportunities are now abound for Zappavigna being ranked in the top ten, holding a number eight rating by both the IBF and WBO.

When quizzed as to what it’s like being in the top ten with guys like Chris Algeri, Ruslan Provodnikov, Lucas Matthysse and champion Terrence Crawford on the WBO list, Zappavigna says he has absolutely no problem taking a fight of that magnitude at the end of the year.

“Yeah of course I would take a fight with those guys,” quipped Zappavigna.

“But in all reality, we are looking to settle in here first and foremost, at my new place and in the Wildcard Gym. We actually got offered a title fight with Humberto Soto, but we knew it was important to get settled in first,”

“We didn’t take it based purely on those reasons but we will fight in late July/August over there so hopefully I can put on a performance that will get people talking and hopefully put me in good stead to challenge some of these guys mentioned before. That’s what I am here for,”

Giving up everything to make it on the big stage is very difficult. Family, friends, and the familiarity and security of one’s comfort zone is never easy to break out of or leave behind.

Zappavigna thrives on challenges and this is no different.

Words: Dan Smart (Follow Dan on Twitter @dansmart76)
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz



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