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Meet the "Mad Scientist," Federica Bianco.
by Susan Reno
April 25, 2015

(APR 25)  Everyone's got a story right? Well here is hers: 

Federica's "day job," is Astrophysicist. Seriously. When she is not peppering a bag or sparring partner with a constellation of punches, she writes computer code to help us understand how the Universe works. She studies exploding stars, and tiny remote solar systems.

How on earth does an Astrophysicist become a professional boxer? Federica was born in Genova, Italy. She wrote her under-grad thesis and earned her graduate degree in the United States, all while taking up boxing on top of her studies. Federica remains an Italian citizen and therefor, is ineligible to compete in any Olympic qualifying tournaments in the US. She fought all of the local talent in the New York Metropolitan area. She travelled across the country, to California to win the Beautiful Brawlers Belt (twice) and went south to Florida for the National Women's Golden Gloves. The level of competition she craved was growing scarce and now a decision had to be made if she wanted to challenge herself. Her decision to turn pro was not one she took lightly but knew it would be the only way to get the most out of the sport she loved and get the most out of herself.

Her motto as a scientist is "ask me anything." Here is some insight on this new boxer as she makes her professional debut.

Q. How does being a scientist influence you as boxer?

A. I wish I could say I am "analytical and scientific" but that is not quite true. In the ring I am pretty rough. But here is a thing about being scientist, especially a woman scientist: you get tough. I know that may not be the first image that comes to mind at the word scientist, but believe me. I think I was actually not a competitive person until I started physics grad-school. If you ask anyone that knows me now whether I am competitive... hehemmmm. But in academia there is not a lot of compassion. You need to get something done and no one has pity for the few hours of sleep you are getting, or the ramen you eat day in and day out cause you just have to write this article and have no time to cook. I bring that to the gym and in the ring: no excuses, a work ethic if you wish. If you want things to happen you better roll your sleeves up and start working. That and stage fear. The intimidation that can happen in a room full of academics that specializes in the field in which you are starting off, compares to no kind of stage fright.

Q. How does boxing influence you as a scientist?

A. Every time I am about to give a talk, I think of my fights. I think of what it took to get to the ring, to decide to fight, to do it over and over again. What can I fear after I took myself through that, as an adult woman? You do not fight your opponent: you fight yourself in the ring, your fears of loosing, of disappointing. And you don't have to, right? I could just have stayed home, have a beer and watch a movie. But I decided to confront myself with my demons, and to test myself, expose myself to judgment and the possibility of finding out that I am not, after all, the strongest woman in the world. I have so much respect for all fighters, especially women fighters, because that is what we do, day in day out. We confront ourselves with our fears. And the confidence that comes from knowing I can do it has no equal. You can see it in most women boxers. You can see it in young girls that fight. They know who they are - and they know they are great. That confidence stays with me in my job and has made me a better speaker, a more assertive mentor, teacher, and a braver scientists.

Q. How do you describe your style of boxing?

A. I am a stalker. I am tough and I have a lot of stamina and conditioning. I am relentless and never let go. I push the pace and hunt my opponent in the ring.

Q. If you could be any superhero, who would it be and why?

A. Batman, because he is not a super natural being. He is a hard working man with a will of iron, that sharpened his ability to the human limits to fight evil. I mean... you cant beat that, right?

Q. What will be your ring entrance song at your debut?

A. Fight Test, The Flaming Lips

Federica "The Mad Scientist" Bianco makes her professional boxing debut tonight, Saturday, April, 25th at the Richmond Auditorium in Richmond, California where she will take on Laura Deanovic. Follow Federica Bianco on Facebook and look for more fun "Fed-Facts" from our interview.


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