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Exclusive with Costas Nanga: The new Swedish boxing star sets sights on European title



Costas Nanga MMA

Costas Nanga. Photo: Stefan Romare

Stockholm’s Costas Nanga is one of the brightest shining boxing prospects in Europe at the moment.

A few weeks back, he defeated then-undefeated Bernardin Jakaj, in an important fight in Austria. Jakaj was ranked No. 40 in the world, with a 16-0 record, but the Swedish boxer looked very impressive throughout the fight.

“It was absolutely a step up in my career,” Nanga tells Frontkick in an exclusive interview. “He was undefeated and I faced him on his home turf. It was a tough fight on paper.”

In the ring, however, it was a whole different story.

“Fight-wise, it was one of my most comfortable fights I ever had. I was never threatened at all. I had full control during the fight.”

Costas Nanga boxing1

Photo: Stefan Romare

“The European title is my next step”

Costas Nanga is fairly new in the pro boxing game, but already has a 12-0 record, just over two years into his career. While many boxers pad their records with easy fights for many years, the Swede took on No. 40 ranked Jakaj, who’s arguably a tougher opponent than many champions faced at that point in their careers.

After a few weeks of vacation, the 28-year-old pugilist aims to secure a shot at the European title.

“My next step is to show that I’m the best in Europe. The belt we are looking for is the EBU title.”

The reigning EBU champion is Spain’s Carlos Lamela, who Costas knocked out in his third pro bout, less than two years ago.

“He’s got the title and we’re looking to give him a rematch. We have other organizations in mind too, but EBU is the one we’re aiming for,” Costas said. “I’m taking one step at a time. I have a dream of fighting for a world title, but we are not there yet. The European title is my next step.”

ABP Fight Night 9 Costas Nanga 1

Costas Nanga is still undefeated. Photo: Stefan Romare

Costas Nanga: “I’m ranked like 20-30 in the world”

Nanga got into martial arts through a local football hooligan firm as a young teenager. Sparring with his friends in the firm shaped him into the fighter he is today.

Going straight into sparring taught Costa to deal with the pressure of a fight from the get go, forcing him to be calm in a stressful situation even before learning the proper techniques.

When the older hooligans saw the raw talent in the teenager, they encouraged him to pursue a career in martial arts. Before turning to pro boxing, Nanga competed in Muay Thai and kickboxing, and trained some MMA as well.

Now, the 28-year-old is on the brink of landing the bigger fights, but he knows that it takes more than good results in the ring to make it to the top.

“I’m ranked like 20-30 in the world and now the business part starts more and more. Everyone at this level are skilled athletes, so what separates us is the business surrounding boxing. The biggest currency today is publicity. We have influencers who become big names due to publicity. Outside of boxing, I can increase the value of my name. Quite simply by getting more publicity and more fans.”

“If I have a market value, then it makes sense for boxers to fight me. Then I will attract the big money. That’s how I see it, anyway. I have a team behind me who helps me with this. One step at a time.”

Read more: Official Swedish MMA Rankings

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