Nalk Korbagh grew up in Philadelphia, the city of Hollywood celebrity Rocky Balboa, and hopes to honor the Venezuelan Olympic boxing tradition at Tokyo 2020.
When growing up in the United States, he did not climb the iconic grades of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as Rocky Sylvester Stallone, preferring American football to the home of the Eagles in the NFL. However, a decade after his return to Venezuela, he would be competing in his first Olympics in the light-heavyweight category (-81 kg).
“I want to look for a medal. I have confidence in myself and what I have to do is train hard, be focused, and have faith,” Corbage, 25, told France Press with a smile. Of his teeth.
This short 1.74m fighter loves to hear when they call him Rocky.
The comparison might be trite, but he proudly accepts it: “They started calling me El Rocky de Venezuela because I’m young and tall boxers will touch me (…). I like it because Rocky never gives up in the movie like me, and he’s not afraid of anyone.”
Boxing is one of the sports most representative of Venezuela in the Olympic Games.
The South American country won its first Olympic gold medal from boxer Francisco “Morochito” Rodriguez in Mexico in 1968. Pedro Gamaro, Bernardo Penango and Yuel Vinol followed him in the ring, with silver in Montreal 1976, Moscow 1980 and Rio 2016, Marcelino Bolivar and Omar Katari Bronzes in Los Angeles, 1984.
– ‘No competition is impossible’ –
Corbage was born in Merida, in the Venezuelan Andes (west), and began wearing his gloves when he returned home after living in Philadelphia from the age of 3 to 13.
“My uncle told me,“ Try boxing. ”I never thought boxing would be my thing, and when I saw my first sparring match and I was shooting down boxers, I said,“ Well, that’s my favorite thing. ”He says.
They called him “El Gringo”, because it was difficult for him to speak Spanish.
In this Olympiad, Corbage won gold at the 2017 Bolivarian Games and the 2018 South American Games and bronze at the 2019 Pan-American Games, where he faced off against the Light Heavyweight Champion of Rio 2016, Cuban Julio Cesar La. Cruz.
“What I tried to do was find the knockout, because I trusted my punches, and that fight was close,” he says, recalling the confrontation with Lacrosse, who will be in Tokyo 2020, but weighing 91kg, as he rises. In category.
Corbag could meet another Cuban Olympic champion, Arlene Lopez, who rose from 75 to 81, and with the number one in this division in the International Amateur Boxing Federation, Kazakh Bekzad Nordoletov.
The difference in size, such as between Balboa and Giant Ivan Drago in the fourth part of the Rocky saga, is remarkable: López measures 1.78; Nordoletov, 1.88.
“No competition is impossible,” Corbag said.
At the moment, three boxers from Venezuela are in Tokyo 2020: Gabriel Meister (-69 kg), who will play his third match, and Korbag in the men’s team; And Irismar Cardozo (-51 kg) in women.
There have been setbacks such as the country’s absence from boxing at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games due to a shortage of airline tickets in the midst of a serious economic crisis.
– “No boxing, no life” –
Corbag is a fan of Mexican Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez, who is 1.73 and was carrying a WBF lightweight heavyweight belt.
The man from Merida tattooed on his left biceps the phrase “No boxing without life,” which is the same phrase carried in the same place by the world champion several times in five categories. He also wears a lion with a crown on his arm.
“The lion is the king,” he warned that he could thrive in the boxing jungle, and aspire to become a pro after Tokyo 2020.
He was encouraged to see Yoel Finol win an Olympic medal, a fellow national team, originally taking the bronze medal in Rio 2016 in flyweight (-52 kg), but taking the silver medal for doping from Russian Misha Alloyan.
“We grew up boxing together … why not me?”
erc / jt / gfe