“The Camorra wanted me at any price, but I always refused. Escaping this environment made me feel like a free man. Words by Patrizio Oliva; one of the greatest Italian boxers, born 64 years ago in Poggioreale. “I am saved thanks to boxing and a promise to my brother: I will become an Olympic champion.”

Patrizio Oliva kept his word, light legs, gentle and relentless punches. He fought against everyone to climb to the top of the world, defying crime and the osteoporosis in his right hand that risked ruining everything. He became world champion and Olympic champion in Moscow in 1980, against the opponent who had wrongly deprived him of the title of European super lightweight champion a few years earlier. Today he is 64 years old and the ring faces him as an actor on the set. As in the film “The Cage”, presented at the Rome Film Festival and directed by Massimiliano Zanin, in which he plays one of the trainers of the protagonist Giulia (Aurora Giovinazzo): “I am also something like a father.” her,” he says. “I loved being in the ring and I love acting. Sometimes I don’t know what I prefer.”

For years, Patrizio Oliva, together with Diego Occhiuzzi, has been running the Milleculure gym, where he welcomes young people from Naples who are looking for an alternative to the street, offering them a way out: “Naples is a city with a thousand faces, always ready.” To help people. Our primary goal is to keep children off the streets. We try to give another chance to young people who are at risk of becoming victims of crime.” Sport and beauty to save them, Patrizio Oliva knows how to do it. The ring took him away from the streets, a promise to his brother, who died at 15, urged him to overcome all difficulties. Now he is trying others: “The first way to educate children is the environment. These children are used to being humiliated, they don’t know anything else. The opposite of our gym, which is impeccably maintained. Because these children have to.” I understand that there is something else, even beauty. I would be presumptuous if I said I saved them all. Things happen in pairs, like a couple’s relationship. In these things it is like this: you save yourself if you want to save yourself.”

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