Vapouround magazine ISSUE 21 - Page 201

With party season in full swing, YouTube vape vlogger and reviewer Vinny Luciano of SVAWorld stepped into the ring for a charity boxing match to raise money for Cancer Research UK in November. The showdown took place at the Mercure Hotel in Brand’s Hatch Place, Dartford, hosted by Ultra White Collar Boxing. Mirroring Olympic rules, UWCB’s fights last for three, two- minute rounds. Vinny needed less than one, knocking his opponent out in one minute and 34 seconds. Vinny went in as the vaping industry’s sole representative, and this wasn’t the first time he did us proud. Vinny won his first charity fight in December 2017 on points and so raised his winning streak to 2-0. Vinny’s victory came in the middle of a globetrotting tour – he had just come back from the US and went straight on to a trip to China, but his busy schedule didn’t stop his plans to (literally in this case) fight for what’s right. Speaking to Vapouround after the bout, Vinny said: “Vaping personalities and reviewers aren’t celebrities to the wider culture in any sense of the word, but we have a more prominent place in our own communities. We should use our position to take part in things like this and encourage others not just to be aware of charities, but to be generous with them. I’ve always wanted to do things that make a difference, and if YouTube gives me the opportunity to raise a few more pounds for Cancer Research UK then I’ll step in the ring, fighter or not.” In November, Vinny even made it a family affair. His brother Antonio also walked away with a first round victory, his in one minute 42 seconds, exactly as long as Muhammad Ali’s knockout of Sonny Liston 54 years ago. It wouldn’t have been right for Vinny to return to the ring without a proper nickname. He now goes by ‘Mani di Pietra’ (Hands of Stone) in honour of his Italian heritage and as a tribute to his favourite boxer Roberto Duran, the Panamanian legend who went by Manos de Piedra. Vinny considers Duran a hero, not just for his accomplishments in the ring, but his charity work outside of it. Vinny sees the vaping industry as perfectly compatible with cancer research charities. At its core, vaping is about smoking cessation: a public good. “When I first got involved in this, I was really surprised, because obviously there’s nothing like this community around smoking. I hope we never lose our way. I couldn’t have picked a better charity. Smoking is still one of the biggest causes of cancer and we’ve all come from a smoking background.” “I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THINGS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE, AND IF YOUTUBE GIVES ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE A FEW MORE POUNDS FOR CANCER RESEARCH UK THEN I’LL STEP IN THE RING” Unsatisfied with his first performance between the ropes, Vinny worked on a new strategy. He took inspiration from Duran, coming in with a game-plan centred around counters and body punches. Vinny ended the bout with a rare, risky but devastating punch: the liver shot. “It played out exactly how I planned it.” According to the Cancer Research UK’s rules, this second fight will be Vinny’s last for them, but he has no plans to stop. He’s a lifelong boxing fan and feels encouraged by finding something that lets him simultaneously help others stop smoking and pursue a passion. Vinny has even been in talks with former world cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli about visiting his gym in Wales for a training session. “I want to carry on, do it for other charities or even potentially organise events myself. Even if I raise as little as £50, it’s still money that Cancer Research wouldn’t have otherwise, plus it’s great for my personal fitness.” Vinny also pointed out that though he kept vaping throughout the training and build-up (though never during sessions) his cardiovascular fitness wasn’t affected in the slightest. “If I had been smoking to the same extent, I would have been destroyed!” Stopping an opponent inside a round before they can dish out any damage isn’t our usual definition of ‘harm reduction’ but the result speaks for itself. VM21 | 201