Guido Vianello is keen to taste Efe Ajagba’s punch power

Guido Vianello, 12-1-1 (10) is currently in a stage of his career where he is in need of a significant win. On Saturday night (April 13), he will have the opportunity to achieve this against the powerful Nigerian Efe Ajagba, 19-1 (14). Talking to Boxing News, Vianello discussed his career journey so far, his thoughts on his opponent, his decision to pursue boxing, and his dislike for football.

(Interview by Shaun Brown)

BN: What is your assessment of your career thus far?

GV: In my boxing journey, I have had the opportunity to work with three different coaches. I initially started with Abel Sanchez, where I was very aggressive in the ring. However, I realized that I needed to focus on defense as well, so I transitioned to Kevin Barry, Joseph Parker’s former coach. With Kevin, I honed my jab and adopted a similar style to Joseph Parker. Although I appreciated his work, I felt a lack of connection in the corner during my fight with Kingsley Ebeh. It was then that I realized the importance of having the right feeling in the corner, so I returned to my Italian coach, with whom I share the strongest bond. He understands me on a deeper level and knows exactly what I need to do in the ring, which is crucial. After three years in America, I reunited with my Italian coach, and we have been working together to prepare for this fight in England. We had the best sparring partners in London, including Daniel Dubois, Tony Yoka, and three other heavyweights from England. This camp has been the most beneficial as we found sparring partners similar to my opponent. My last fight with Jonathan Rice taught me the essential fundamentals of boxing. At this moment, everything is aligned for me to secure a significant victory. A year ago, I wasn’t mentally prepared for a big win, but now I feel ready and determined for this fight on Saturday night.

BN: What lessons did you learn from your bouts with Ebeh and Rice that can aid you against Efe Ajagba?

GV: My fight against Jonathan Rice, where I was winning all the rounds and then got stopped by the doctor, taught me a valuable lesson. I realized that in boxing, one punch can change everything, and you must always be prepared. I learned not to take anything for granted and to treat every round as the first round, with the intention of closing the fight.

BN: What are Efe Ajagba’s strengths in the ring?

GV: Efe Ajagba is dangerous, especially against opponents who are not tactically smart in the ring. He possesses a strong right hand and a solid jab. Having sparred with Efe before, I am confident in my readiness and strategy for the fight. I will leverage my speed and skills in the ring and not be overly concerned about his power.

BN: Italian heavyweights are a rarity in the sport. What motivated you to pursue boxing instead of choosing an easier path?

GV: As an Italian, the Police and Army boxing clubs provide a comfortable amateur career where you can compete in multiple Olympic Games and receive monthly pay without facing many challenges. However, I chose to venture into the professional boxing world when Bob Arum presented me with an opportunity, which I couldn’t resist. I took a risk, left my job in the Police force, and dedicated myself to boxing. Despite the hardships, this decision has made me stronger and happier. I believe that taking risks and facing challenges ultimately lead to a fulfilling life.

BN: Did you work as a Policeman while pursuing boxing?

GV: As a Policeman, I trained in the gym twice a day and represented the Police organization in boxing tournaments around the world. Although I carried a gun as part of my uniform, I didn’t work on the streets as a Police officer. After retiring from boxing, the Police would reassign you to other duties.

BN: Why were you given a gun if you weren’t performing Police duties?

GV: The gun was kept locked away at the Police station and could only be carried while on active duty and in uniform as per Italian regulations.

BN: What was it like to fight in Italy against Jay McFarlane in 2022?

GV: Fighting in Italy against Jay McFarlane was a fantastic experience, given that I usually compete internationally. It was a special moment to fight close to my family home, and I believe it marked the beginning of something significant for Italian boxing. My dream is to host a Top Rank show in Italy to showcase the nation’s love for the sport.

BN: Are you a fan of any football team as an Italian?

GV: Despite soccer’s popularity in Italy, I personally do not enjoy the sport. I prefer to focus on boxing and aspire to compete for a world title in Rome. However, I do support Roma when it comes to football.

BN: Who were your favorite fighters to watch growing up?

GV: I admired fighters like Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis for their skills and achievements in the ring. Additionally, I enjoy watching smaller fighters like Lomachenko for their unique styles and movements.

BN: What can fans expect from the Ajagba vs. Vianello fight?

GV: Fans can anticipate a relentless and determined performance from me in the ring. I will give my all to secure the win and showcase an exciting fight for everyone watching.

BN: Looking ahead, do you have any aspirations beyond defeating Ajagba in 2024?

GV: My focus is currently on the upcoming fight. However, I have plans to face Jared Anderson after this bout, as I believe it will be a compelling matchup. There are many talented heavyweights in the division, and I am prepared to take on any challenge.

BN: How do you view Jared Anderson as a competitor?

GV: Jared Anderson is a skilled fighter with impressive speed and movements. However, in boxing, staying focused is crucial, and I believe he needs to prioritize that aspect. At the age of 30, I understand the importance of discipline and focus in achieving success in the sport.

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