By David R Ruff
I remember I had a handful of bouts between 91 and 94. Nick Tiberi stated it was about 14 amateur fights. I had bouts at the Front Street Gym, Upper Darby PAL and one Golden Gloves Title I won at the Front Street Gym.
My dad as a fighter, the late Paul Talabisco was one tough S.O.B. He was tough on me and now I realized why he was. He had some tough amateur bouts. He had several fights with Joe Barbizzi, Bob Byrd and Nick Rodriguez. They basically fought for the Delaware Amateur Title. My dad’s last fight was against Nick Rodriguez at Baynard Stadium. A lot of people do not like saying they are from Elsmere, but I think it’s great being from Elsmere, DE.
My dad made me the person I am. I don’t know much about his amateur career but I heard from people he was pretty good.
I was at the PAL fights one day and seen these guys boxing and thought I could come back and do that. My wife thought it would be too much of an undertaking, but I was willing to try to give it a shot.
My wife told me that Nick Tiberi sits behind us at church and that’s when I discussed with him a pro career. Nick said he could revisit my career as a pro. He told me to go down to the Fight Factory. We were down there two or three days there.
One day I got a call that the Fight Factory was closed do to the weather. That’s when I kind of left Nick. Then I got a call from Joey Tiberi (son) that he was going to take me under his wing. So I went up to Joe Tiberi’s Gym and met Joey and that’s when they started pushing me to train hard.
Joey Tiberi, his son, worked with me with the pads. Then Joe Tiberi, Sr. worked with me, too. I sparred with Anthony “The Bull” Caputo Smith, Mike “No Joke” Stewart and Steve Karnai. Karnai’s age is 55 and comes in the gym every day and said he had about 25 amateur fights.
He said he gained about 20 lbs. after leaving the service. His walk-around weight was about 265 lbs. He was in the Army for 17 years and the Marines for 5 years.
I asked him if he read any boxing magazines. He said, “no, but I’m into social media such as Instagram and Facebook”.
Joe Tiberi really cares about his fighters. He puts in a lot of work with them. Stefan’s favorite boxing movie is “Rocky III”. That’s why in his last fight he came in with a “Clubber Lang” haircut. He said there’s too much shady politics in boxing.
Stefan said his goal in boxing is to fight in Atlantic City or some other major venue. He likes the adrenaline, the thrill of boxing and the team work. It reminds him of being in the military again. He work as a local constable at a local crisis center. He has a daughter age 10. Her name is Ruby.
I asked him if he would like to fight another Delaware fighter for the Delaware State Heavyweight Title. He said if he was presented that he would consider fighting for it. He also said he loves his life a lot and most of the time considers what she says.