WBC's Phil Lo Greco: Playing the Age Old Waiting Game

Andrew DoddsCorrespondent IIJune 19, 2011

Phil Lo Greco is the reigning WBC International Welterweight champion. The road to reach this point, and the sinuous one that lies ahead are both impressive and intriguing.

The 26 year old Italian-Canadian boxer is preparing for his next bout on July 15th in Italy.

Phil sports a perfect 22-0 (12 KO) record and is hoping this latest bout will launch him into further title opportunities with marquee fighters. The champ will be looking to perform well in front of his paisanos and one special Italian in particular.

Born in Toronto, he then moved to the old country. Interestingly, his town is Corleone, Sicily. Marlon Brando's character from The Godfather was also from there, and took the town's name as his own. Phil then returned to Toronto and lived there from the age of nine to 17.

He began boxing in 1995 at the order of his father, to control his wild ways.

Father knows best. "When I first came to Canada in 1995, I was always getting into fights, so my Dad sent me to the gym to learn boxing. I knew right away that I wanted to be a professional boxer." 

After being a  four time national amateur champion in Canada, he went back to Italy to make their Olympic team. After earning a spot on the team and placing fifth in Europe, he suffered an injury that took him off the 2004 Olympic team.

Phil says it was a shattered dream but managed to spin it positively. "I took it as a sign that it was my time to turn pro."
Inherent in boxing is the dilemma of getting the big fight. Phil faces this quagmire. Without having a well known name to build a big fight around, he cannot battle for major belts.

Being too talented and too risky for top rated contenders to fight, Phil is left continuing to fight opponents that do little to command attention. He also faces the challenge of finding minnows to chew on to keep him busy while he waits for the trophy fish.

He has worked hard and is ready for his shot at the big time!
His next fight—slated for July 16th in Sardegna, Italy—still has no scheduled opponent. "Every fight is important. This is a fight to keep active until a huge opportunity presents itself."

This fight will not be an official defence of his title, but there is an exciting opportunity on the line for the thirsty star. "My toughest fight is staying motivated. I have done everything, had all my small fights, and want my shot."

Fellow pugilist of Italian descent Paulie Malinaggi—both are from Sicily—is expected to be in attendance.  

Malignaggi, out of Brooklyn New York via Italy, does have a championship name. He sells out fights and has faced the biggest names in the game—Ricky Hatton, Miguel Angel Cotto, Juan Diaz, Amir Khan, etc.

A fight against Malignaggi would be the opportunity of a lifetime for the frustrated fighter. "Great match-ups have been made between friends. Hopefully, this fight could give the Italian fans a great fight between two top Italian fighters. This is something that has not happened since the 1950's." 

Should Phil get his wish and hook a whale of a name such as Paulie Malignaggi, that would be the impetus for him realizing his ultimate dream—"I want to fight for a title in the Air Canada Center in Toronto."

This is an ambitious dream. The Air Canada Center (A.C.C.) has never hosted any meaningful boxing event, nor has the city of Toronto hosted a meaningful championship bout since Ali-Chuvalo in '66.

Achieving this laudable aspiration will be a testament to his patience, self-belief, and continued commitment. Realistically, the greatest hope for him lies in catching a break from the barons of boxing who hold the fate of all boxers in their money-clenching fists.

A Malignaggi bout would be that elusive big break. 

Lo Greco makes himself easy to follow. In addition to his website, http://www.phillogreco.com/, he also has a YouTube account, http://www.youtube.com/phillogreco , a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Italiansensation1, and a Twitter account—http://twitter.com/#!/Phil_Lo_Greco/status/47369543303168000 .

One can learn about his latest out of the ring endeavour, a nutrition plan, from his website.

In order to be the second most famous person from Corleone, Sicily, he will need to stay focused and impress at all of the pit stops en route to major boxing events.

Expect Phil to breeze through his July 15th opponent, and cross your fingers that he can catch a Malignaggi or other big-named fight soon. 

If the fight does not materialize, he will have a more arduous and time consuming journey to the top.