Full steam ahead, Nick Fantauzzi looking for a busy 2018
By Alexandra Scaffidi
Canadian prospect Nick Fantauzzi (3-0) looks to earn his fourth consecutive finish over Alberta’s Justin Schmit (1-3 Boxing, 4-7 MMA) on Lee Baxter Promotion’s annual “Light ‘Em Up” card. The six-round light heavyweight bout will take place Friday, April 20 at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto.
In an exclusive interview with Fight Ontario, Nick Fantauzzi discussed his introduction to boxing, obstacles he faced during his career, signing with Lee Baxter Promotions and his future title aspirations.
“He’s a work in progress, the fans love him and he works his ass off,” said Baxter. “He will slowly get better. Right now I want him to clear out Canada and see where it goes.”
The light heavyweight prospect is still in the preliminary stages of his professional career. Fantauzzi has quickly made himself known to spectators for his show-stopping performances. His fights are fan-friendly and with three professional bouts to his name, he is already a huge local draw.
Fantauzzi’s admiration for boxing began with watching the “Rocky” movies when he was younger. He also shared this interest with his grandfather, who was a boxer himself.
“To be honest it’s kind of cliché, but I thought it was cool,” Fantauzzi said. “I went downstairs with my friends and there was a punching bag. I started hitting it. I said to myself ‘Oh this is fun.’ I fell in love with the sport, with real boxing and watching it on TV.
“I found out my grandfather was an amateur boxer, and had a few amateur fights in Hamilton. We bonded that way. I’d go over to his house and I’d watch boxing with him. That helped to give me a little push as well.”
From there, Fantauzzi quickly became a fan of the sport. He started training in 2006 and by 2007, he had his first bout. Early on in his training, Fantauzzi experimented at a few gyms before finding a home at Grant’s MMA and Boxing Gym six years ago.
The duration of his 28-fight amateur career took place in the heavyweight division. He would have liked to gain more experience in his amateur career but had difficulty getting fights due to the lack of depth at heavyweight in Ontario.
“I had countless fights that I had scheduled, and the opponent didn’t show up or pulled out of the fight,” explained Fantauzzi. “I took fights whenever I could, I took them on two day’s notice sometimes.”
During the entirety of his amateur career, Fantauzzi held a job with the City of Vaughan, before deciding to leave that position to train full-time in 2015. At that point, he decided to go pro.
“Between that and training, it was so busy and so hectic,” he said. “That’s when I said to myself ‘You know what, I need to dedicate my time to boxing’, so I stopped working there.”
The transition to becoming a full-time athlete and beginning his professional career was difficult for Fantauzzi. He began training clients in fitness and boxing in order to support himself financially.
As of January 2018, Fantauzzi has officially signed with Lee Baxter Promotions.
“I like the way Lee Baxter Promotions work,” Fantauzzi explained. “They’re also the most busy promotion. There is always an opportunity to fight. I’ve seen a lot of opportunities their fighters have. All three of my fights I had last year were with Lee Baxter Promotions and I love the way they handle business. They treated me well and they showed me a lot of dedication.”
Fantauzzi was originally scheduled to turn pro in May of 2017 with a different promoter. However, that fight did not end up happening. Under Lee Baxter Promotions, Fantauzzi also has struggled to find opponents, with three different challengers dropping out of his debut fight in July of 2017, before taking on Diego Armando Rivera Martinez and finishing the fight in the first round.
“I ended up fighting my debut against an opponent from Mexico with 24 pro fights,” Fantauzzi said. “It was either that or nothing. He went out of his way to look for somebody for me.”
Currently the fifth ranked light-heavyweight in Canada, Fantauzzi is looking to be as active as possible. He hopes to rack up six victories over the next year of his career. The 31-year-old Canadian prospect has championship aspirations and his sights are also set on an international platform.
“By the end of the year, I’d love to get a regional title,” Fantauzzi said. “I want to keep climbing the ranks. Then by next year move on to the world stage. I continue to work hard and I appreciate all the support that I’ve gotten so far.”
You can keep up with Nick Fantauzzi by following him on Instagram.