Fighter Overcomes Odds To Become Champion

Every so often a film fighter inspires us like actor Russell Crowe did in Cinderella Man (2005), and Ralph Macchio did in the Karate Kid (1984). These movies are great, but nothing fires the imagination more than a true story, Angelo Notaro A.K.A “Big Ang,” has one of these inspirational stories.

A lot of fighters grew up in broken homes, or have suffered some sort of abuse over the course of their lives, and instead of turning to crime, they got into the ring. Notaro says the biggest influence in his life was, “my dad because he overcame alcohol and proved he was a winner in life and my mom because she was the glue that made our family strong, she basically raised and directed us in the right way.”

The Champ

Notaro, a Newburgh, New York resident who grew up in Yonkers and Mahopac thinks of fighting as his ‘hobby’ or ‘like playing softball,’ has built quite a reputation with his supporters. His strength and heart in the ring cannot be matched by many. The driving force behind his fury in the ring is the years of suffering through life with an obesity problem, and the bullying he endured that came along with it. Maybe that is one of the reasons bullying is an issue close to his heart.

According to, “60% of middle school students say that they have been bullied, and 160,000 students stay home from school every day due to bullying. (NEA)” Notaro, “I was 330 lbs., a Diabetic and a walking heart attack as a young adult. I took up the sport of fighting because I was always awed by the competition and it inspired me to get in great shape. I trained under John Carlo, a former pro boxing contender who knocked out Leon Spinks. He gave me a tremendous amount of support and it inspired me to be a better person. John is one of my best friends in the world.”

Fighting sports like Mixed Martial Arts (M.M.A.), and Ultimate Fighting Championships (U.F.C.), have the bad reputation of being too violent, fighters might appear to be heartless barbarians, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Notaro, “I’ve had a few altercations outside of the ring that I’m not proud of…I’d rather not talk about them. I want my nephews to be proud of me. I wouldn’t hesitate to handle business if anyone hurt a woman or a child in front of me. I’m a nice guy!” Obviously, most aspects of fighting can be very brutal, but these men are athletes who have trained and know what they are doing.

Angelo and Tony

Notaro starting fighting in the ring at an older age than most fighters, “I had my first boxing match 2003. I had a draw and was terribly outta shape. That fight taught me to never ever come to anything unprepared. My 2nd fight gave me a mini panic attack. The guy I was going to fight was 6 1″ and 215 lbs. with a six pack. It was a bit nerve racking, for a second I was like, maybe I should trip and fake an injury. Well, I think that fear helped. I knock him out brutally with 5 seconds left in the 1st round. They took him out on a stretcher. It was scary….but fear is normal. You should always fear an opponent, a sparring partner, and life in general; it makes for a better outcome.”

Notaro credits his great training to the people he loves and, “one of my best friends in the world, the former World Boxing Champion, Tracy Patterson’s trainer Tony Stronconi. Stronconi trained Patterson and Floyds Patterson’s son; he also trained his son Anthony Stronconi jr. to golden gloves championship. My success is also because of the ‘Muay Thai’ I incorporate into my fighting style. I learned it from John Carlo Gym, USA karate,”

When asked why he never went pro, he said “I’m 40; I do this as a hobby. I have good life in the automotive business. I’ve seen how badly pro boxers have been manhandled by greedy promoters and managers. Keep it fun I say and when it’s not. I’ll pick polo as a sport…lol.”

Notaro’s least/most proud moments in the ring are, knocking out “a dude called Frank McNearney in the 2nd, he ran his mouth before the fight…calling me, fat and slow…after I beat him his wife spat on me….that was a great feeling…. knocking out a jerk and a hot looking chick spitting on me….my least proud moment was my 1st fight because I ran out of gas in the 2nd and held on for a draw.”

Notaro says his future plans in the ring include, “training hard …defending my 35 and older AKBF Master Title and continuing to be safe while having fun in the ring. I also want to make my friends and family proud……My next fight is Oct 15th in Patterson NY.”

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