Christian Schembri, or ‘Coqqos’ as he is known, is flying the Maltese flag for boxing.
The 27 year-old has his sights set on an upset this evening as he challenges home favourite, Nathan Heaney, for the IBO Continental Title at King’s Hall, Stoke, this coming Friday, 13th March.
It is a title that would fulfill a lifetime’s ambition.
“I’ve been interested in boxing all my life,” he said. “I remember when I was a kid me and my dad used to to stay up late to watch the Mike Tyson fights on the Italian TV when he was on, like, his European comeback tour. We used to watch K1 fights a lot because I used to do karate when I was kid.
“Then, when I was 16, I started going to a kickboxing gym in Mosta – and there was Steve Martin back then teaching boxing as well – so I used to do kickboxing and boxing with sensei Silvio Camilleri and Steve Martin.
“Then, when I was 19, I had my first [kickboxing] fight, I won it, and I had my first boxing fight and I won that too – so I started in June 2012 in October. So that’s when I said “to hell with it”, this is what I want to do.”
Coqqo’s focussed on boxing and made his professional debut three years later. Since then, he’s picked up 17 wins along the way and has fought in Malta, Italy and Switzerland.
It was in Switzerland that Coqqos picked up his biggest win to date – an away day title victory over Paata Varduashvili for the vacant Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) Inter Continental Middleweight Title. A win that he hopes to emulate this weekend.
“The UBO Intercontinental title was my first international title and was my first international title as a pro, so it was really, really satisfying,” he added. “And then to be invited to meet the Prime Minister, suited and booted, it was a great experience, and not everybody can say they have done it.”