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Malik Zinad hits the road once again to face Jerome Pampellone in Sydney on Wed.


It’s been quite the journey for fringe light heavyweight contender Malik Zinad.

The Libya-born fighter left his home in 2013 due to political unrest, moving to Malta, and after a handful of amateur fights he embarked on a professional career that has so far seen the now 30-year-old win all 21 of his pro bouts all across Europe and America.

Zinad will dust off his passport once again and travel to Australia where he’ll face fellow unbeaten prospect Jerome Pampellone at the Hordern Pavilion, in Sydney, on Wednesday.

“I started fighting in Malta and then turned pro when I met [former light heavyweight champion] Donny Lalonde, and I’ve gone up and up,” Zinad (21-0, 16 knockouts) told The Ring. “I’m the first professional boxer in my country. I don’t see anybody in front of me doing this.

“I needed to travel out of my country to Europe, America, U.K. to train and be where I am now. It’s not easy, I never had an easy way, I always work hard, always struggling. Where I am now is from hard work.

“My last fight when I won the WBA Intercontinental belt I didn’t get any fights. From March 2023, nobody offered me a big fight.”

“The fight is going to hard, it’s going to be a tough fight,” he admitted. “I need this kind of tough fight. The best man will win. I’ll be ready and we’re both coming to win.”

He had long courted something bigger and has regularly taken to the road fighting and winning in 10 different countries so far.

“I don’t want to go down and fight small fights, I want big fights, there’s no good promoter who wanted to sign me,” he said. “In boxing it’s normal, I’m used to it, so I say, ‘OK, I keep myself training and give myself a good position and then the fight will come.’ And look, now the fight has come.”

Zinad, who has been training in Vero Beach under the watchful eye of Buddy McGirt, arrived in Australia last week to acclimate, is determined to make good on his opportunity to fight for an IBF 175-pound title eliminator.

“Wait for my big knockout coming on April 24,” he said. “Watch me and you will enjoy the fight.”

McGirt is happy with the form his fighter has shown in camp but admits to stepping into the dark against Pampellone.

“[Zinad] is looking good in sparring, getting better each day,” said the former two-weight world champion turned trainer. “I don’t know much about his opponent but we will be ready.”

Pampellone (18-0, 11 KOs) was born in England but moved to New Zealand when he was 10. He got into amateur boxing and won three New Zealand national titles and fought at the 2019 World Championships but lost at the quarter-final stage. He turned professional in December 2020.

Since then, the 27-year-old has remained unbeaten largely fighting in his adopted homeland with the odd appearance in Australia. He holds win over Faris Chevalier (UD 10), Mose Auimatagi Jr. (TKO 1) and, most recently, former world title challenger Rogelio Medina (TKO 1).

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].

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