Visinia: ‘I Respect Cunningham, He’s Where I Want to Be’


When Natu “The Truth” Visinia steps into the ring Saturday in Philadelphia, PA, to face veteran Steve “USS” Cunningham, it will be with a heavy heart. Visinia buried his long-time trainer, Charles “Buddy” Bereal, on Oct. 10 after Bereal passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  

Visinia, 30, is from, Clinton, Illinois, a small town with a population of 7,500. He travelled to California to train with Bereal for the last five years. When Bereal passed away unexpectedly, Jermaine Lefeiloai, Buddy’s long-time assistant trainer, stepped in to finish out Natu’s training camp.  

Natu said Buddy was excited for the match-up with Cunningham.   

Natu “The Truth” Visinia
Photo Courtesy of Final Forum Promotions 



“He was more excited than I was about this fight,” Visinia said. “This is what he always wanted for me. This fight will be dedicated to Buddy. Jermaine has been with us from the beginning. He knows Buddy’s style. He knows my style. We fit in well. It is not like I am starting fresh with someone I’m not comfortable with. I am definitely comfortable with him.”


Bereal was a former welterweight from Mexico and Visinia is dedicating the Cunningham fight to him.


“The fact that we lost Buddy is the hardest part,” Visinia said. “I have to continue to fight. Having lost Buddy I think I am mentally even stronger than I was when I started training camp. This fight is dedicated to Buddy.”


Visinia (10-0, 8 K0s) has managed to stay focused on Cunningham through this tragedy.


Photo Courtesy of
Final Forum Promotions 


“I am definitely going to be the bigger guy in this fight,” he said. “He’s got power. He’s obviously quick and a faster heavyweight. In my training camp I have been bringing in a lot of faster, smaller guys to spar with so I can get my eyes sharp to face a guy like Steve Cunningham. I look at it like he’s got the experience and the advantage over me. It is going to be a great fight. I’m not looking at it any other way.

“I respect Steve and all of the things that he is going through and the sacrifice that he has been through with his family. He’s where I want to be. I need to win this fight to get where I need to be. In his last fight with Mansour he showed a lot of heart. Mansour roughed him up in that fight. Steve showed he deserves to be where he is.”

Lefeiloai: “We haven’t made any major changes. Just real fundamental stuff. I believe he is in great shape. We understand that we are facing a formidable guy.”

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