Rocky Fiore Making up for Lost Time

To look at Chicago light welterweight Russell Fiore (4-0-1, 4 KOs), you’d think he belongs on Jersey Shore and not in some sweaty boxing gym five nights a week. But the proud Italian/Jewish American found a passion for boxing, even if it wasn’t until the age of 25, and now eats and breathes the sport, even does homework assignments about it!

Fiore is scheduled to face Daniel Crabtree in a four-rounder at the Hitz Boxing Fight Night event on Saturday, April 9, at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.

“I feel great and I’m totally ready. I have had eight months off since my last fight which is long for me, but I’ve been training straight through. I had a couple fights not go through that I was training for, so I had no time off from the gym.”

Fiore, who is also known as “Rocky”, almost suffered a setback in his last fight, a four-round majority draw with Antonio Avila last August. However, the story behind the story of that fight is almost as hard to believe as the original Rocky’s was.

This is how the Chicago Tribune described the incident:

The state’s No. 2 boxing official has been placed on paid administrative leave after a longtime referee filed a complaint accusing the official of using his position to benefit his family, the Tribune has learned.

In his 10-page complaint, a copy of which was obtained by the Tribune, referee John O’Brien accuses Joel Campuzano of using his position to benefit his wife’s political campaigns and to further his brother’s career as a boxing judge at the expense of others…

On Aug. 6, 2010, a bout between Antonio Avila and Russell Fiore that was televised nationally on ESPN2 included three Campuzanos.

According to the complaint and a video of the fight, Joel was ringside for the state, and his brother Junior was a judge. Their father, Bulmaro Campuzano Sr., served as the corner man for Avila and a longtime friend was Avila’s manager. The four-round fight ended in a majority draw, with one judge scoring it in Fiore’s favor.

O’Brien, the referee for the match, was surprised to see Junior Campuzano judging a fight that involved his father. He said he’d never seen such conflicts of interest in his nearly 40 years in boxing.

“It would seem almost impossible,” he told the Tribune. “If I had not been the referee assigned for the bout, I don’t think that I would have believed it.”

Regardless of what the final outcome was or will ultimately be, Fiore says he learned a lot in that fight. “I tried too hard. I have to stay relaxed. The fight was on TV and I tried too hard to be spectacular and didn’t use any of the skills I’ve worked on with my trainer. I tried to knock him out from the start.”

So it goes with a late-blooming fighter learning on the job to make up for a lack of amateur experience. Fortunately, at his headquarters, the Evanston Boxing Club on the north side of Chicago, he receives excellent guidance.

“My trainer’s name is Giovanni Caravello. He was trained by the great Tony Zale. And Tony Zale was trained by Ray Arcel. I have a real good lineage of trainers, as far as old-school boxing goes. Nobody knows the stuff Gio knows. I owe all that I am in the ring to my trainer. He doesn’t do things the way they do things now days. He doesn’t just sit there and hold pads. He’s all old school. I watch films of all the old-timers and he makes me write reports on what I learned from them!”

Fiore says he is currently heading to Detroit’s famed Kronk Gym to find some world-class sparring during his final preparations. “That’s a definite confidence booster. I’ve been sparring really good lately and spending my last week at Kronk will make me very sharp,” he admits.

He may have started late, but Rocky’s trying hard now.

Also scheduled to appear are: Yakubu “Black Mamba” Amidu (19-2-1, 16 KOs); Chicago middleweight Mike Kurzeja (4-0, 4 KOs); Chicago super middleweight Ninos Abraham (5-0, 2 KOs); Chicago heavyweight Dave Latoria (7-0, 3 KOs); Chicago junior lightweight Paulie Settepani making his pro debut; and Hammond welterweight Ruben “Modern Day Warrior”Galvan (27-15-4, 10 KOs) in separate bouts.

For more information, please visit: www.hitzboxing.com.

WHEN: Fight Night at Horseshoe Casino

Saturday, April 9, 2010

Action Starts at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Price: $10 – $90

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT TICKETMASTER AND AT:

www.thevenue-chicago.com

Must be 21 or older to attend shows. Must be 21 or older to gamble.

WHERE: THE VENUE AT HORSESHOE CASINO

777 Casino Center Dr., Hammond, IN, 46320

Horseshoe Box Office: 219-473-6060


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