By: Sean Crose
By all accounts, Lebanon is an ancient and physically beautiful country. Unfortunately, the nation has also been a land of much hardship. Those who come from troubled lands, however, often have an acute affinity to their communities of origin, for through a sense of unity, one can find strength. This is definitely the case with Lebanese super middleweight Nadim Salloum. A colorful, highly likeable guy, the 10-1 Salloum brings in lots of Lebanese supporters whenever and wherever he has a bout. With that in mind, there will no doubt be a high percentage of Lebanese fans in attendance this Thursday at Sony Hall in Times’ Square, for that’s when Salloum will square off against the undefeated 4-0 Leandro Capozucco in a scheduled 6 round affair.
Indeed, Salloum’s Lebanese fans are apt to come from as far away as places like Montreal and Miami to see Salloum in action. “We have a tough country.” he says. This very fact is part of the reason Salloum is a man on a mission. In his own words, the 28 year old wants to present “something that gives us hope.” What’s truly interesting about Salloum, however, is that he wants his reach to expand beyond his own Lebanese people. His message is a simple one. “You can dream wherever you come from.” That, he believes, is true of all people. For instance, Lebanon is not known for it’s boxing. In fact, Salloum is the world’s first Lebanese born and raised boxer in recent memory (at least).
“I have the right to be whatever I want,” he says. To achieve his dreams, however, the man has to continue his winning ways in the ring. Not that he’s lacking in determination. Salloum literally traveled across the world in order to make it as a high level professional boxer. His first stop was Mexico. “I lived at a boxing gym in Mexico City,” he says. “I was willing to live on the street.” Salloum worked his way to the states, to the boxing hub of Los Angeles, to be exact. Now, he says, “I’m in New York most of the time.” Another boxing hotbed.
A striking thing about Salloum is the fact he’s a naturally colorful guy, the kind of person who could tell the same boring story you heard from others a million times before, but make it interesting. That kind of skilled communication a gift – and a particularly valuable one for boxers, who ply their trade in the hope of serious attention. “I was born like that,” Salloum says of his upbeat, standout disposition. Now, in the “city that never sleeps,” Salloum feels like an individual whose right at home. “I’m in fucking New York City, man!” he exclaims excitedly.
In fact, there is much for the Salloum to be pleased with at the moment. Not only is the spotlight expanding around him, he has an entire nation behind him, as well. “Imagine,” he says of his fan base, “when I’m fighting for a world title.”
*Full Disclosure – Boxing Insider, where this article has been published, is a promotional outlet behind Thursday’s New Beginnings card.
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