After his defeat in the round of 16 against the Brit Pat McCormack, during the Olympic Qualifiers, there is no guarantee the Monégasque boxer will get a ticket to Tokyo. However, the fighter remains hopeful.
Hugo, what have you taken away from your loss against Pat McCormack?
I spent a year preparing for this fight (the fight was due to take place in March but was postponed due to the pandemic) and I felt ready. I’d put a good game plan together. Personally, I don’t have a bad word to say about my opponent. He played brilliantly. I can’t fault either of our performances. I didn’t make any mistakes; I was simply out of my depth. I’m not afraid to say it. He’s a much more experienced boxer (26 years old), who has already been to the Olympics and that showed in the ring. I gave it my all.
Despite the defeat, it must have still been a great learning experience…
Of course. I’ve taken a lot away from it. It’s always interesting to compete with people stronger than you. Pat is a more experienced boxer. I learnt a lot from this match, in terms of boxing, but also mentally too.
If I had to guess, I’d say there’s a 60% chance I’ll be in Tokyo this summer.
Do you still believe you have a shot at the Olympics?
There’s still hope. Because of my ranking, I might get selected, but I could also receive one of the invites sent out to small countries, as was the case for the rower Quentin Antognelli. Monaco has made a request for some, so I’m waiting to see. I’m the highest ranked boxer out of all the small states. If I had to guess, I’d say there’s a 60% chance I’ll be in Tokyo this summer.
Will you start training just in case?
I took a week off after my fight, but I’m ready to start training now, as if I was going to Tokyo. I’m going to head back to the Canaries (to Gran Canaria) as quickly as possible to begin training again. I’m expecting an intense few weeks with sessions in both the morning and the evening. I’m going to train so hard, with no distractions, and practise with sparring partners too.
But whatever happens this summer, you’ll turn pro in September
I’ve already signed my contract. But before I set off on my new path, I went to end on a high. The world championships are my goal, but my first dream has always been the Olympic Games. That’s all I’m focusing on right now. Playing as an amateur, I’ve still got a lot to learn, it’s a different sport and very tiring. But if I don’t make it to Tokyo, then the hope is Paris in 2024. Professional boxers can take part in the Olympics now. It’s great news.
When will your first professional fight be?
Nothing’s set in stone yet. I’m not sure. Saying that, I always imagined my first fight would be in October or November 2021. But before that, I want to make it to Tokyo (smiling).