Lenny Zappavigna talks Misael Castillo, training camp and title goal

LENNY Zappavigna has evolved from talented prospect, to world title challenger to seasoned veteran.

Having travelled the world in the hope of gaining a life-changing world title, along the way Lenny Zappavigna (33-2, 22 KOs) has found maturity, stability in his life and a reignited dream of a second world title fight.

Zappavigna, 27, lost an admirable points decision to long-reigning IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez in 2011 at the MGM Grand and has battled long and hard since to prove to the boxing world that he has the ability to become Australia’s latest world champion.

In his way stands Mexican livewire Misael Castillo (26-3, 24 KOs), who will look to provide the Sydney-based slugger with stiff opposition as well as a firm challenge for Zappavigna’s WBO Oriental light welterweight strap – a title he earnt in a fight of the year contender and ten-round bloodbath against Shuhei Tsuchiya in April.

“This fight here is a really big fight for me. Castillo is a puncher, he is very strong,” said Zappavigna in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “I’ve watched a few videos of him and he comes forward and he comes to fight,”

“I think I’m too sharp for him; too fast. I’m going to use my speed. I have trained my heart out for this fight, it’s a fight that I have got to win to get me right up there in the ratings.”

“If I win this fight it will put me at number one or two in the WBO rankings and then we could be looking at an interim world title or even the actual WBO world title,”

Riding a seven-fight win streak, Zappavigna is fighting with the confidence and poise of a fighter that understands how close he is to achieving his lifelong goal. While his most recent win – a second round demolition of Thong Por Chokchai – is far removed from his signature win over Ji-Hoon Kim, Zappavigna has used those camps to help make his current camp one of the best of his professional career.

“This preparation here I’ve really put my head down and buckled down for this prep,” Zappavigna explained.

“It’s such a big fight. I’ve been to Brisbane training for the last five or six weeks. I’ve been really switched on. I’ve had great sparring partners in Jarrod Fletcher, Dennis Hogan, Jeff Horn, Cameron Hammond and Paddy Murphy. They gave me a heap of great sparring,”

Throughout his professional career, Zappavigna has campaigned at a variety of weights ranging from lightweight to welterweight. With that said, Zappavigna believes light welterweight, the division where he has had his best career performances, is where he plans on staying.

“I believe that I’m strong and I am also a very big light welterweight,” he added. “I do the weight very well. I’m definitely faster at this weight and where I plan to be staying,”

“I’m fit as, I’m in great condition and my weight is right on. So I’ve got no excuses for the fight on Wednesday night. I’ve left no stone unturned, I can’t see why I won’t come out of this with a good win.”

There was talk earlier in the year about a potentially mouth-watering fight against former two-time interim WBO lightweight titlist Michael Katsidis, but Zappavigna admits that Katsidis’ most recent loss, a devastating one-punch knockout at the hands of Tommy Coyle, has ended the hopes of a possible fight between the two.

“The fight with Katsidis was out there for the offering but never came through,” Zappavigna continued. “I was willing for the fight, it would have been a great fight and great experience for me. It would have been a great win to have on my record. It never came through in the end,”

“Maybe he’s past his time now. I’m just looking at bigger and better things.”

“My plans are to get that world title shot god willing. I want to get through next Wednesday night and hopefully we can try to get a world title fight here in Melbourne or anywhere in Australia for that matter. That’s the plan, that’s what I’m going for,”

Zappavigna enters battle on Wednesday night with the mentality of a fighter with tunnel vision. Zappavigna sees the bright lights of Hisense Arena as the ultimate platform for what he believes will be another impressive performance.

“This is it now. I’ve matured as a fighter, I’ve been in deep water. I’ve been on the big stage and I’ve fought in Las Vegas,” Zappavigna said in closing. “I’ve held an IBO world title, this will be my next chance. I believe I’m ready.”

“I’m 27 years of age. I’m strong. I have the experience now. I just need to get through this next fight and then I’m ready,”

Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz


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