Angelo Leo can’t envision what the world will look like by this time next year.
He does, however, have a pretty good idea of where his career will be at by that point.
“I definitely see myself being a multiple time world champion,” Leo told BoxingScene.com. “I want every belt, all the belts I can get at this weight.”
Leo (20-0, 9KOs) first has to defend his WBO junior featherweight belt versus unbeaten mandatory challenger Stephen Fulton (18-0, 8KOs), whom he faces this Saturday, atop a Showtime-televised tripleheader from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The two were supposed to collide last August, only for Philadelphia’s Fulton to test positive for COVID-19 in having to withdraw from their vacant title fight.
The show went on, with Albuquerque’s Leo facing and soundly outpointing unbeaten southpaw Tramaine Williams. Saturday’s bout is viewed as the toughest test of his career. It’s one he remains confident of winning, which makes it easy to understand why he’s equally sure of running through a loaded junior featherweight division. Joining him at the title level are fellow unbeatens Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who holds the WBA “Super” and IBF belts and Mexico’s reigning WBC champ Luis Nery. At the next level is unbeaten secondary WBA titlist Brandon Figueroa and former titlist Daniel Roman.
All but Murodjon fight under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner, with whom Leo is affiliated through his promotional relationship with Mayweather Promotions. Also on the roster is Rey Vargas, the unbeaten former featherweight titlist now campaigning at featherweight but still very much a target.
“Everyone is fighting under the same banner and I want them all,” insists Leo. “It isn’t a worry for me at all. I’m a fighter. I’ll fight anyone they put in front of us. It doesn’t matter to me if they’re from Top Rank, from Golden Boy or wherever. I just want to fight. That’s who I am, I’m a fighter.”
Such fights may have to take place without fans in attendance, as will be the case on Saturday evening. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is getting worse with a new Covid strain having made its way to the United States. With few exceptions, most stateside boxing events have taken place behind closed doors since the sport as a whole resumed last June. It will likely remain that way until vaccines are rolled out and hopefully the curve is eventually flattened.
In the meantime, there are goals to be met by any means necessary.
“I have no problem continuing to fight without a crowd,” states Leo. “It’s still a fight at the end of the day. It’s a little something I’ve envisioned, not being able to fight with crowds. I know a lot of people are tuning in on Showtime. I’m still getting the recognition, just not in person.
“I just won my world title, so this is just the beginning. I want to leave a legacy and these are the sacrifices we have to make as fighters to reach those goals. I’m going to keep fighting as often as Mayweather Promotions can put me in the ring. By this time next year, I see myself still undefeated and winning at least two more belts.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox