Q&A: Algieri discusses path to boxing, future medical aspirations
New York’s Chris Algieri takes a mark of 15-0 that includes seven knockouts into Saturday night’s clash with Jersey City’s once-beaten Jose “Mangu” Peralta, of N.J., as part of NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night event from The Paramount in Huntington, New York.
Algieri, 28, will try to end a streak of two consecutive knockout victories by Peralta (10-1, 6 KOs), whom he will face as the co-feature to a bout matching heavyweights Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (14-0, 10 KOs), of Lugansk, Ukraine, and Philadelphia’s Malik Scott (35-0, 12 KOs).
Algieri is a former high school wrestler who has been boxing for five years. In addition, he has designs on being a doctor, meaning that, for now, he must suppress any concern for his foes or the Hippocratic Oath in favor of what he calls a “nasty streak.”
RingTV.com caught up to Algieri, a former kick boxer and wrestler, in advance of Saturday’s bout for this Q&A.
RingTV.com: What is your degree in and where did you earn it?
Chris Algieri: My undergraduate degree is from Stony Brook University in premedical health care sciences, and my master’s degree in graduate school is from New York Institute of Technology, and that’s in clinical nutrition.
RingTV.com: When did you achieve those degrees?
CA: I graduated from Stony Brook in 2007, and then, I graduated from New York Tech in 2010.
RingTV.com: Did you play any sports in high school?
CA: In high school, I was an All-State wrestler, and in college, I was actually kickboxing, professionally, at the time. I won the Catholic States, which then qualified me to wrestle in then public school states.
I was All-State. I didn’t actually win the public states up in Syracuse. I went to St. Anthony’s High School. It’s a great sport. I wrestled 138 pounds my senior year.
RingTV.com: Mike Alvarado being a state champion, and Kermit Cintron being a former wrestler, what is your assessment of how wrestlers do as they transition into boxing?
CA: In terms of technique, I don’t think that it helps too much, but in terms of a high-level sport that serves as a one-on-one competition, I think that it helps with dealing with the pressures.
Being in a wrestling match or on a mat is very helpful to a boxer. Even though wrestling is a team sport, you’re out there by yourself. So, boxing is definitely not a team sport.
So I think that wrestling does prepare guys for a higher level of competition and dealing with that stress of being in a one-on-one sport.
RingTV.com: When did you actually decide to box?
CA: I was a martial artist and a kick boxer before I even wrestled. I’ve always grown up watching boxing and been a fan of the sport. I love the sport.
So I was doing quite well in kick boxing, and I was training with a lot of boxers at the time, and sparring with them. So I just really just believed that I needed to make that transition.
I really loved the sport, and my boxing much getting much better as I was kick boxing. I would say that happened, well I retired from kick boxing in 2007 when I was 23.
I made my pro debut in boxing in about six months after that in April of 2008. I always said that I didn’t want to do both of them at the same time.
I didn’t want to jump back and forth between sports. I know guys who have done that, and I think that it hurt both of their games. So I wanted to be completely done with all of my goals in kick boxing before I moved on to boxing.
RingTV.com: Now that you are 15-0 with seven knockouts, what are your goals in boxing?
CA: I want to be a world champion. Those are the goals that I set when I was kick boxing. I wanted to be a world champion. There’s really no reason to be in the sport if you’re not trying to be a champion.
I’m not here just for fun. I want to be the best, and I have a time frame within which I want to do that. So I want to keep on making moves and making progress and taking big fights and making big steps toward a good future.
Really, I’m 28, and I’m about to be 29. We really want to start making some moves now. By the time that I’m 30, I want to start really pushing it and being in position to get bigger fights to be in title contention.
I still have medical school plans in my future, so that kind of puts a little bit of a time crunch on me as far as my boxing future goes.
RingTV.com: Are you going to remain as a junior welterweight?
CA: Really, I’m still making 140 now. We’re not killing ourselves to make weight, and I’m still performing at a high level, so there is no reason to move up yet.
But that could be in the future. I’m pretty tall for the weight class [at 5-foot-10,] so fighting as a welterweight is not out of the question. Really, I could go either way. I could stay at 140 or go to 147.
RingTV.com: What degree will you pursue after boxing?
CA: I definitely want to go back to school. You can’t start too early. I’m studying in between my training right now. It’s difficult now, because of the level of the sport that I’m in, to be full time.
It’s tough to be a full-time student and a full-time boxer. It’s not really possible. So I need to be finished with my boxing career before I make the transition into medical school. That’s a full-time job.
RingTV.com: Will you explore MMA?
CA: You know, I get asked that a lot because of my kick boxing back ground and my wrestling background from high school. It’s not really an option for me. Like I said, I have my window of being a professional athlete now.
I don’t want to spread to thin and start reaching out to other sports. I really want to focus on boxing. I want to put 100 percent into that now.
RingTV.com: What will your medical profession be?
CA: I’m not exactly sure what route I’m going to go. I would love to still be involved with the sport of boxing in some way. I’m a health and fitness nut.
That’s really another one of my passions. So I’ve thought about cardiology or cardiovascular, because it does involve health and fitness and my background in nutrition.
So that’s an option too. But I’ll figure that out as I’m doing my residency and making my rounds. I’ll see what really grabs me as I’m experiencing it first hand.
In medical school, I’ll be in a classroom for a couple of years, and then there will be the post-schooling where I’ll be actually in a hospital working.
That’s usually where guys figure out what their specialty is going to be and where they’re going to practice. I would probably be a medical doctor, or a doctor or osteopathy.
Those are probably the two routes I would go. I’m probably not going to go the surgery route, because I’m kind of late in my school career for that.
Medical school for surgery is an extra four or six years or something like that. A doctor or osteopathy, that’s really like a general practitioner. They’re more focused on the holistic, whole-body treatment.
Less surgery and less medication, and more dietary and they use their hands to help people to heal on their own more than using surgical methods or pharmaceutical drugs or things like that.
RingTV.com: Given the fact that you’re in the health field, you don’t have a problem with the potential for busting guys noses or breaking their orbital bones and reconciling that sort of violent potential with the Hippocratic Oath?
CA: This is sports, and it’s a very violent sport. It’s a tough sport and its the hurt business. But at the end of the day, this is a sport and it’s something that I’m involved in now.
Like I said, I love this sport, and you’ve got to have a little nasty streak to be a boxer. I’ve displayed that, and it doesn’t affect me in the ring.
When I’m in the ring, it’s work time. That’s my job out there right now, and it’s also my sport. That’s just part of the business.
So I can’t be worrying to much about a Hippocratic Oath while I’m competing. I really have to focus on doing my job.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]