John Leonardo: “My Goal Is To Win A World Title”

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Posted on 04/15/2024

By: Sean Crose

“My father was a professional,” rising bantamweight John Leonardo tells me, “so I just followed in his steps pretty much.” Sure enough, New Jersey’s Leonardo comes from boxing stock, his father having been a professional middleweight. Indeed, the senior Leonardo also gave his son the nickname the junior Leonardo now goes by – Body Shot. “My dad was a body puncher,” Leonardo says, “one of the best body punchers. That was something that was instilled in my mind.” The senior Leonardo also seems to have helped instill a quality style for his son. Fighting behind a high guard and an impressive jab, Leonardo knows how to maintain range while applying pressure in the ring.

He’s going to have a golden opportunity to showcase those skills this May 5th, when he takes on Frank Gomez at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. The Leonardo-Gomez fight is being seen as a highpoint of that night’s Boxing Insider card. “I don’t know much about him,” Leonardo says of Gomez. “I’ve seen plenty of film of him. It’s not something I’ve been worried about.” What’s more, Leonardo has been preparing to return to the ring for the first time since August – when he won a unanimous decision over Dominique Griffin – for months now. The 10-1-1 Leonardo indeed had another fight lined up, yet it fell through, which means the 23 year old is now eager to return to action.

“Everyday I pretty much work out three times a day,” Leonardo tells me. “I box every night.” The man is nothing if not disciplined even by professional boxing standards. He’s also willing to embrace less than traditional forms of training. “I try to pick it up almost like I’m running,” he tells me of the swimming regimen he’s applied to his fight preparation. “I usually do between 50-60 laps and every few laps I try to pick it up.” Suffice to say, the young fighter likes to swim nonstop in order to get the most out of his pool sessions.

He may only have been fighting professionally since 2021, but boxing has obviously been a part of Leonardo’s life for quite some time. Before turning pro, the Daily News Golden Glove winner earned himself an impressive amateur resume. “I had over 65 amateur fights,” he says. “I won the New Jersey Golden Gloves. I also won the Diamond Gloves for New Jersey….I fought overseas in Sweden as an amateur, and Denmark with the New York Metro Team.” As far as the future goes, however, Leonardo has his eye on a major prize. “I’m looking to get into the top ten,” he tells me. “Obviously my goal is to win a world title. That’s the big goal.”

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