Christopher Mondongo is a boxer who recently won the Italian featherweight title. He thinks that boxing is a sport that teaches you how to overcome your limits and fears and it makes you feel more confident and responsible.
Hi Christopher! Tell us something about you, how did you get interested in boxing?
Hello Sara, I was born in Rome on December 26th, 1989. My mom is from Cape Verde and my dad is from Congo. I started boxing by chance at the age of 19, thanks to my best friend who was already an amateur boxer.
What does the training of a boxer consist in? I mean, I think that – besides the physical training – there is also a lot of mental work to do, isn’t there?
Yes, obviously you got to work on your mental side in addition to physical training. The mental factor is fundamental and being mentally calm definitely makes both the preparation and the match easier.
“Fear is omnipresent, every single time I get on the ring. That’s the very element that makes me stay vigilant and careful”
What did winning the Italian featherweight title mean to you?
Winning the Italian featherweight title has meant a lot to me, it was my first goal that could open the doors to even more important matches. It was a challenge because I won the title in a category which was different from mine – since I am a smaller weight, a super bantamweight.
I know that you dedicate your victory to Willy Monteiro with whom you shared your Cape Verdean roots, is that right?
Yes, sure. We have the same origin and I felt I had to dedicate the victory to him and all his family.
It is something common to think that people who practice such physical sports as boxing or MMA are violent. But it is not like that. In your opinion why does this prejudice exist ?
This prejudice is widespread because many people never stepped into a boxing or MMA gym and don’t know that respecting the rules lies at the basis of everything.
“Boxing taught me to overcome my limits and go beyond the obstacle”
Have you ever been scared in the ring? How do you overcome it?
Fear is omnipresent, every single time I get on the ring. That’s the very element that makes me stay vigilant and careful. In order to overcome fear, I just think that boxing is the sport I love, and the ring is the most beautiful place in the world.
What has boxing taught you over these years?
Boxing taught me to overcome my limits and go beyond the obstacle. It taught me to be a better man and take my responsibilities.
Before a fight do you practice any superstitious ritual?
No, I don’t have any particular rituals. Before going out of the locker rooms I pray a little with a rosary my mom gave me and I always carry with me.
Now that you won the featherweight, will you defend it? Do you have any fight scheduled?
No, together with my manager Davide Buccioni and my coach Giorgio Maccaroni we decided to go back to my super bantamweight category and try for an international title right away. On July 16, I’m fighting for the WBC Mediterranean.
Last question: in your opinion what does “DARE” mean in the world of boxing?
In relation to our world, I guess the term “DARE” means not being afraid of taking risks. I’ll give you an example – about one year and a half ago I risked and changed both gym and coach because I thought that if I had worked on other technical aspects, I could have reached my goals. I had everything to lose, but I dared and in the end I won.
“I guess the term “DARE” means not being afraid of taking risks”
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