LENNY Zappavigna will use tonight’s bout at the Orange Function Centre as a stepping stone to a world title fight.
The Sydney boxer will take on JoBel Dela Cruz as part of the Zappa’s Country Tour program.
Zappavigna is a former International Boxing Organisation lightweight champion and has that title in his sights again.
The 24-year-old has an impressive resume including 81 amateur fights for 72 wins.
He won a bronze medal at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, after which he turned professional.
Since turning professional he has won the IBO Asia Pacific lightweight title, the International Boxing Federation Pan Pacific lightweight title and the IBO world lightweight title.
In March last year Zappavigna lost the IBF world lightweight title fight to Miguel Vazquez in Las Vegas on a points decision.
He took some time off and is on his way back.
Last month he downed Brad Milner with a knockout in the third round.
“I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling confident,” Zappavigna said.
“My training has changed, I’ve got my mind right, I’ve got a very good nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach behind me. I’m working very hard in the gym. My preparation is done. I’m feeling confident and fit and looking forward to the fight.”
As a professional, Zappavigna has had 28 fights for 26 wins, including 18 knockouts, and two losses.
Despite this impressive record, the orthodox boxer knows Dela Cruz, who has 17 wins from 32 fights, will be tough.
“He’s a tall boxer. He’s Filipino. They’re tough boys, you’ve got to be wary of them. They throw punches from anywhere,” Zappavigna said.
“Whoever you put in front of me, I’m ready to go. I’ve trained hard. It’s about what I can do.”
Zappavigna said even though he had fought on international stages, he was happy to be stepping into the ring in Orange.
“It’s another fight under the belt, more experience for me and let Orange people see me and get my name out. Hopefully they enjoy the night,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter where I am, I just do my fight.”
His focus is tonight’s fight but Zappavigna is also working towards another world title fight.
Italy’s Emiliano Marsili has the IBO world lightweight title and Zappavigna is hoping he can challenge for it in the future.
There will be five professional bouts tonight including Orange’s David Farr and James Kinsela.
Mobsport Boxing’s Ben Fitzpatrick, Kieran Swann, Dion Tyler and Terawhiti Cooper will step into the ring for amateur fights.
Doors open at the Orange Function Centre at 6pm tonight with the first fight at 6.30pm.
Zappavigna and Dela Cruz will step into the ring at 10pm.
Tickets are available at the door.