Giovanni Scuderi is no ordinary big-punching cruiserweight. He is no ordinary New York Sicilian either. Scuderi recently hails from Catania, Sicily, coming to the United States as a first-generation immigrant to follow his dream as a professional boxer.
The amateurs, however, beckoned firstly for Scuderi, with the hard-hitting Italian winning Golden Gloves titles in multiple states prior to initially signing with Real Deal Promotions.
Talking to Boxing Social, Scuderi recalled his early years in the United States and his adaptation to life on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean.
“It wasn’t easy coming to America, it was a big risk. It still is a big risk to this day. You can’t take anything for granted in the USA,” said Scuderi (3-0, 2 KOs). “A lot of people promise you a lot of things. People are quick to take money from you but they don’t want to give you the things they promise. A lot of people are out for themselves and don’t care about others. Fortunately, I have my manager Phil Castellano who has treated me like a son and looked after me. This made coming to America a lot easier for me.
“I had to learn the language when I came here. I had to learn the culture, it’s not easy, but having a man like Phil in my life really made it easier. This made me becoming a quality fighter much easier but I still had to work. Sponsorship isn’t easy to come by, so I delivered pizzas and tried to train people, but initially, that wasn’t easy as I couldn’t speak the best English. I have learned the language now and that is invaluable to have not just in boxing but in life.
“Because of Phil Castellano, I had the ability to focus on training and improving myself and I am very grateful for all of that. I went on to win the Golden Gloves in several states and then signed pro with Real Deal Promotions. That is another example of things not going to plan as Real Deal ended up going out of business, which held my career back. I have no bad feeling towards them, business is business, but fortunately, Phil and Team Havoc have worked hard to bring me back from my setbacks.”
Scuderi, 26, then faced another setback when he required shoulder surgery, which took him out of action for almost a year. “When I needed surgery a lot of people left my circle. Financially, it crippled me, I lost sponsors and money that I believed was guaranteed,” he told Boxing Social. “It turned out not to be and that was another example of when I needed loyal people around me. The people around me now are loyal people and that is why I’ve been able to progress since I recovered from my injury.
“My manager Phil stood by me during my rehab. He supported me and that is all I could ask for. [Prominent trainer] Andre [Rozier] and Team Havoc worked hard to bring me back and last year I had two fights with two knockouts. I should have had a third but unfortunately, I tested positive for Covid. However, I am back in the ring on February 20 and I can’t wait to continue my career progression.”
The fighter dubbed ‘Leonidas’ returns to the ring in 10 days on a One For All Promotions card at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. The towering Italian from Catania discussed his first bout of 2021 and the pressures that come along with it.
“There is always pressure when I fight. I’m 6ft 5ins and I have a lot of people talking about me. People talk about you in different ways, that is life. Some people can be jealous, some people can be supportive. It depends who you talk to, but I always feel that I have to perform at the best of my ability because there is always someone wanting you to fail and I won’t let that happen,” he said.
“Being a real Sicilian in New York carries weight. I am proud of my background and I fight for that background. We are warriors where I come from and I have to fight like one in order to be true to myself and my supporters. February 20 in Orlando, I will do what I have been doing and that is putting on good performances and hopefully win once again by knockout. I want to carry on showing people that you can achieve your dreams if you work hard, and keep showing the people who stayed loyal to me that they were right to believe in me.
“I have to say thank you Team Havoc for bringing me back. Andre and the team gave me an opportunity to come back and now I have been fighting regularly and I am excited for 2021 and that starts on February 20 in Orlando, Florida.”