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‘I want to be on that level, I need to prove myself’ – Steve Gago on WBC title win, boxing future

On May 31, Perth’s Steve Gago made a massive statement at Thunderdome 46 after he knocked out international opponent, Zixiang Wang in the second round.

The knockout victory for Gago won him the WBC Australasian welterweight title, a step closer to his ambitions for a world title.

In an interview conducted weeks after the fight, the Aussie fighter expressed how thrilled he was to get the knockout victory.

It felt amazing, winning a title like that means a lot to me,” Gago said.

“I didn’t expect it to go that quick, I knew he was going to be a tough guy and I was working with the coach, southpaw against southpaw is difficult. We came up with a good game plan and we executed it in the second round.”

The victory for Gago marks his second in a fourteen-month span, where prior to this, the Perth local had been relatively inactive in the boxing scene with his last fight coming in 2021.

When asked about the inactivity, Gago cited injuries as well as other commitments being the main reason for extended time out of the ring.

I feel great, the reason behind my inactivity was that I had a couple of injuries ongoing and stuff happening with work,” Gago revealed.

“All I did was try to recover good with my proper rehab, I would constantly go to my physio and my chiropractors to make sure everything was up to date,” he explained.

“Everything was looking good and feeling good so I thought I could give it another crack again.

“I’ve fought two people in the top five in the world and I did pretty well and that’s where I thought I should try and aim to be.”

Before his long layoff, Gago’s last fight was a decision loss to current undefeated IBF light welterweight champion of the world, Liam Paro, who won his title earlier this month after defeating Subriel Matias.

Gago praised the current champion, claiming that he learned a lot from their fight.

“[Paro] has done an amazing job,” Gago said.

“He’s got a good team behind him and he’s dedicated. From that fight I had with him I learnt a lot, there’s definitely levels to the sport.

“I want to be on that level and I feel like I need to prove myself, going 10 rounds with him I proved to myself that I kind of belong in that area.

“With Liam, every fight he’s getting better, there’s obviously levels I need to try to keep up.”

Along with the Australasian title, Gago’s victory last month earned him a place in the WBC’s world rankings at welterweight.

Gago said that the ranking means a lot to him and despite being 35 years old, he still has ambitions to one day fight for a world title while he is in his athletic prime.

“[The ranking] means a lot” Gago said, “when I was active I got around to the top 15-20 in Australia.”

“In the top sanctions I think I was top 15 at one point, now to be WBC 39th in the world it’s a bit of a shock to me, but I want to get into the top 10.

“Right now, I am a little bit older, I’m 35 but I feel like I’m probably in my prime, not just physically but mentally as well.

“I’m a little bit more experienced and wiser, I want to get a couple more titles and at least a shot at a world title as well.

“Right now, I just want to get the numbers up and get the rankings up higher, Not only just WBC, maybe get back into the IBF as well.”

After two impressive victories since his return to the sport, Steve Gago looks to be on the right path, with more fights under his belt it will be interesting to see how his world title quest plays out.

Credit: Lewis Moss 

Photo: Dragon Fire Boxing

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