32-year-old Roman fighter Mattia Faraoni is the current ISKA -95kg K-1 rules world champion and a three-time Italian champion in pro boxing, who now holds the Italian cruiserweight title. He also was bronze medalist at the WAKO World and European Championships. This Saturday, at OKTAGON in Turin, he will attempt to defend the ISKA belt facing Romanian superstar Bogdan Stoica. Here is a recent interview Mattia did with OKTAGON’s press office:
Hello Mattia, thanks for your availability. First of all, how are you? I’m doing great, I’m really pumped for this match that I’ve been looking forward to so much.
Can you tell us a bit about the behind-the-scenes of how the idea for this match came about? The idea for this match first came up during the COVID period. We were proposed to have the bout in Romania, but the purse wasn’t suitable. In agreement with my manager Carlo Di Blasi, who is always very attentive, we decided to postpone. During that time, I was also preparing for the Italian boxing title, so I chose to focus on that. But it was precisely during that period that the spark in my brain ignited, wanting to someday have a match against such a strong and internationally known opponent.
Many of your haters often bring up the argument that, in your career, you haven’t yet faced opponents at the world level. What would you like to say to them? Once you gain a certain level of media popularity, it’s natural for people to want to see you face international kickboxing stars like Giorgio Petrosyan or Badr Hari, and that’s something that motivates me. However, I’ve always said that being known and having visibility doesn’t automatically mean being the “Maradona” of your sport, just as not being known to the general public doesn’t automatically mean not being strong. In fact, I often faced names not very well-known, but tough in the ring.
I’ve always tried to proceed on a sports path in line with my abilities, taking steps one-by-one, and now I feel mature enough to face anyone. Partly because of my spectacular style and partly because of my empathy and comfort with fans, I’ve always received a great response from the audience. I believe that being able to capitalize on this talent should be recognized as a merit and not as a burden. It may be liked or not liked, but undoubtedly it’s a quality that sets me apart from legends who are a bit different from me as individuals.
It’s my nature, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Then, with all the humility in the world, let’s not forget that I have 100 matches in boxing and kickboxing with enviable records. From the beginning, I’ve fought as an amateur at the highest national and international levels, participating in European and World Kickboxing Championships where I won bronze, fighting athletes like Alex Pereira who is now at the top in UFC. Before gaining the visibility I have today as a pro, I went through tough times fighting opponents like Yassine Boughanem and [Khalid] El Bakouri of Enfusion in high-level events like OKTAGON and Bellator.
I think my dual commitment to boxing and kickboxing may have slowed down my growth a bit, but, since COVID, I feel like I’ve found the right gears both in terms of media and sports. I’m 31, and I feel fully mature to face important opportunities. I’m strong and famous. I couldn’t be more excited for my next challenge.
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