Mateo Tapia heads into Friday’s state title fight as arguably Australia’s hottest boxing prospect and has reflected on a remarkably quick journey to prominence.
At the age of just 20, Tapia (7-0-KO4) clashes with the also-unbeaten Isaac Buckley for the New South Wales State super-middleweight title on Friday night (5-0-1-KO1).
Despite his tender years, Tapia is not only maintaining discipline amid increasing fame but able to assess the development of his mindset when it comes to temptation.
Tapia said: “I went through the drinking and partying stage really young. I’ve got a girlfriend now and she’s a very good woman. She helps out a lot and understands what it takes to be a successful professional boxer so I’m very grateful for that one.
“Throughout my amateur days I was partying a lot and I didn’t use to take it too seriously because a few decisions didn’t go my way.
“I know what’s wrong and right now. I’ve been through things and these days I focus on living a balanced lifestyle.
“It’s a bit crazy to think I’m fighting for State honours at the age of just 20. If I’m honest, I didn’t think I’d come this far this quickly but when the opportunity presented itself, we took it with both hands.
“I believe I’m up there with Australia’s best prospects. There are a lot of up-and-coming fighters in the country in the same boat as me and we all share the same goal – to become world champion.
“Friday night will be a great fight. Isaac is a tremendous athlete with a lot of heart. I’ve met him outside the ring a few times but it’s all business on Friday night. That’s how I handle things – I don’t respect anyone who’s in front of me trying to take away my dream.”