When East Boston resident Michael Curto steps into the ring for his first amateur bout, the ring announcer won’t have to say his name twice.
If you’re a long-time boxing fan in New England, you’ll immediately recognize the name “Curto.” Yes, 17-year-old Michael Curto is the son of former professional boxer and the pride of East Boston, Vinnie Curto.
Vinnie Curto, a ruggedly handsome, charismatic man who was a brawler inside the ring, had a distinguished pro career that included 76 fights. He won 62 of them while knocking out 26 of his opponents. Included on his impressive record is a win over a super tough Philadelphia middleweight named “Bad” Bennie Briscoe.
Michael Curto is well versed on his father Vinnie’s accomplishments such as winning the World Boxing Federation super cruiserweight title in 1996. He stays in touch with his dad and often trains with him on the West Coast.
Michael Curto is setting out to carry on the family’s gloried tradition in the sport of boxing. He is training daily at Sal Bartolo’s Gym in Winthrop and is gearing up for his first fight at the amateur level. The long-term goal is to fight professionally and bring a world title back to Boston.
Currently weighing in at 5 feet, 8 inches and 205 pounds, Curto wants to compete in the super middleweight division that has a 168-pound limit.
“I’m really starting to get serious about boxing,” said Curto. “My father is always helping me with tips. I go out to California periodically to train with him and middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. I’m training seven days a week in Winthrop with Sal and I try to work out about four hours a day.”
Curto runs two miles a day and has a daily regimen of calisthenics under the guidance of Bartolo, an experienced, veteran trainer who’s respected throughout the sport.
Curto is confident in his athletic ability and pulls no punches when he talks about his goals.
“I want to use the amateurs as a practice ground so when I turn pro, I will have learned from my mistakes and be ready to fight at the highest level,” said Curto. “I hope to be the world champion.”
Curto said he has sparred with other fighters, but not his famous father who is now 56 years old. “I’ll work with my father in the ring but he’s never really hit me. He makes me work, though.”
Michael’s budding boxing career is also receiving tremendous support from his mother, Olga, manager of Royal Roast Beef in East Boston, and his sisters. Ariana, 21, and Loretta, 19.
“My mother has always been supporting me my whole life – she’s my advocate,” said Michael. “I’ve been coming to the gym and just trying to succeed and she’s been right there with me every step of the way.”
Michael said when he’s ready to turn pro, he will ask his father to become his manager. He said he’s proud to be associated with trainer Sal Bartolo.
“Sal is a very good man – he has a lot of experience and knows all about boxing,” said Curto. “Sal pushes me hard and every day I strive for his toughness.”
Bartolo said Curto is making progress in his boxing skills.
“Michael is a strong young man who is working hard,” said Bartolo. “He hits hard and has a good attitude. Like anything else, boxing takes practice. He wants to be a world champion but he has to work at it. Right now we’re looking ahead to the Golden Gloves Tournament.”