By Stephen Tobey: After a 10-year amateur career that led to two USA Boxing Elite championship finals, Julio Perez Campusano is ready to turn pro.
The 26-year-old light heavyweight who lives in Boston fights on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham, N.H., less than 10 miles from the Massachusetts state line. His four-round bout against Rene Nazare of Woburn, Mass. is part of an evening of boxing promoted by New England Fights.
“The opportunity just came about,” Campusano said. “I just needed an opponent. I’ve been waiting for a long time.”
As an amateur, Perez won New England titles and earned two silver medals at the national championships. He was ranked first in the country at one point and was a runner-up in the Olympic trials.
“I’m left-handed, but I can also fight orthodox,” he said. “I’m a boxer-puncher.”
Campusano started boxing in South Boston.
“I started when I was in school,” he said. “I’d bring some gloves and we’d fight in the street. Eventually I went to a gym in South Boston. I watched a lot of Mike Tyson, but I’m more of a boxer-puncher than he was.”
“They’ve helped me improve a lot,” he said, “especially with speed, power and conditioning. I’ve learned a lot of new skills with them.”
While preparing for his pro debut, Campusano has sparred with Rashidi Ellis, who is 18-0, holds the International Boxing Federation North American welterweight title and is ranked 10th by the IBF.
“He’s been a big help,” Campusano said. “His speed has helped a lot. When I face guys my own size, it feels like they’re in slow motion.”
Eventually, Campusano wants to accomplish what Ellis is accomplishing.
“I want everything,” he said. “I want to spar with world champions. I want to fight the best and I want to fight for a belt one day.”