We have an international feel to today's Debut Corner feature with Mario Petrov - a Bulgarian from Italy now living in London!
We caught up with the likeable welterweight at his Sutton gym, Rosehill ABC, the same place where Southern Area champions Danny Connor and Tony Owen once learnt their trade.
Here's what he had to say...
[caption id="attachment_4660" align="alignnone" width="816"]
Mario Petrov (middle) in his amateur days[/caption]
What made you want to start boxing?
“It was my father, I was a really small kid at 13-years-old in Bulgaria and I started fighting there when I joined a sports school and after a couple of months I started having fights and did really well, I did a championship tournament and came second.
When I finished the sports school six years later, I went to Italy to help my mum in her business and after a short while I said that I want to continue boxing and I found a really nice gym, Box Madonnae.
I fought there for six years and it was really nice, I had 10 fights 10 wins and in my first championship for the north region of Italy, Lombardy and I won. I was very happy with myself and thought, this is what I want. I won at 69kg. Three years ago, I won my second championship of Cremona another region of north Italy and I won at 64kg.”
Who was your boxing hero growing up and why?
“Roy Jones Junior because whenever he went into the ring he just enjoyed himself.”
How old were you when you had your first fight and how did you do?
“I was 13-years-old and I did a championship tournament in Bulgaria and came second.”
How well did you do in the amateurs?
“I had 40 fights - won 28, lost nine and drew three.”
What made you decide to turn pro?
“My dream was to go professional but I didn’t have the proper facility in Italy so I said to myself ‘just go for it’ and now I’m here.”
What team do you have around you?
“I’m training in Sutton at Rosehill ABC, my coach is Ian Burbedge and I’m also working with Lenny Daws, it’s really good quality there. Strong, quality guys here which is what I need to grow. Mickey Helliet is my manager.”
What sort of fighting style do you have?
“I’m a technical boxer, clever, I don’t fight, it’s not my thing, my strength is to box clever and counter with the big power punch.”
What ambitions do you have for your pro career?
“I don’t know for the moment but I’m always looking for the top, just keep building and building.”
When is your first fight and who will be there in support?
“My first fight is May 16 in Camden Centre, doors open at 5pm, and boxing starts at 6pm. I have here a lot of Bulgarian friends that want to come and support me. I also have a lot of English guys in support and South African and French!”
Any message for the fans?
“I wanna tell them thank you for the support and if they want to see a really nice boxing style then just come and watch me.”
For tickets to the debut fight please call: Call me on 07961 489 976. Standard is £35 and VIP is £55.
Jono Carroll vs Maxi Hughes fight preview
Super-middleweights Jack Cullen and Zak Chelli will clash on Whyte-Povetkin undercard
Craig MacIntyre confident of 'getting the job done' against Ishmael Ellis but still wants Darren Surtees fight