When and why you started boxing:
Back when I was a kickboxer, I went out to Cuba to improve my pure boxing skills. This started my passion for boxing.
Favourite all-time fighter:
Sugar Ray Robinson became a legend in one of the toughest eras.
Best fight you’ve seen:
The first fight between Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera showcased their determination and technique.
Personal career highlight:
I’m proud that I’ve won all 26 of my fights so far.
Juan Ruiz retired with a broken rib after the third round [in October 2019], but those three rounds were very difficult for me. He was tall and had remarkable power in his punches.
Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My best attribute is definitely my punch power, especially with my right hand. A weakness, however, is my lack of an extended amateur career in boxing. I turned professional after only 13 amateur boxing bouts, although I had well over 150 kickboxing bouts, amateur and pro.
Generally, I dedicate the morning to physical preparation and running, while in the afternoon I train in the gym, sparring and working on my boxing technique.
Being an Italian, my favourite food is pizza. There are so many excellent pizza restaurants in Italy. When I’m training in Mexico, where I prepare for my fights, I love to eat tacos and all the other Mexican culinary specialities.
Best friends in boxing:
The two-time Cuban Olympic champion Hector Vinent really helped me when I first arrived in Cuba to begin boxing training. I also owe a lot to my manager, Marco Piccini, who has given me so much support.
Other sportsperson you would like to be:
As a child I wanted to play football.
Last film/TV show you saw:
My favourite movie is Goodfellas and my favourite series is The Sopranos.
Who would play you in a film of your life:
I’d like to be played by Robert De Niro in his heyday.
Have you ever been starstruck:
When I went to the 2018 WBC Convention in Kiev, Ukraine, I saw legends like Roberto Duran and Oscar De La Hoya in person.
Best advice received:
It was news rather than advice, but I remember being so happy when my manager Marco told me that I was going to be fighting Ivan Alvarez in Florence in 2019. It was my first fight back in Italy for over seven years.
Worst rumour about yourself:
I can’t wait to silence the people who have said that I’m not up to fighting the top boxers in the welterweight division.