Christian Carto’s love for professional boxing doesn’t begin and end with fight night. It starts months before.

He loves the training, the weigh-ins, and the people he meets. He doesn’t even hate the media events to promote the fight.

The 22-year-old bantamweight from the Philadelphia area will put his 17-0 (11 knockouts) record on the line against Victor Ruiz (22-10, 15 KOs) on Feb. 8 at the 2300 Arena as part of an eight-card bout.

Carto has aspirations to one day be in the world rankings and to become the next in a long line of great Italian boxers from South Philadelphia. Ruiz, a Mexican southpaw, is expected to give Carto a challenge due to experience in professional boxing.

Russell Peltz, a promoter who facilitated the match, said this fight comes as the next step in Christian’s potential ascendance through the boxing ranks.

“It’s the right fight at the right time,” Peltz said on Jan. 9 at a promotional event for the fight. “There are plenty of left-handers out there that he’s going to have to fight during the course of his career.”

Ahead of the fight, Carto has been working on head movement, combatting and attacking a left-handed fighter, and being more free with his hands.

Despite having 11 knockouts on his record, Carto has been enduring a drought of sorts in his last six fights.

Christian Carto during a recent fight.
Darryl Cobb Jr. / Handout
Christian Carto during a recent fight.

“I want the knockout, but my last fight I looked for it too much and wound up getting hit too much,” Carto said. “I always want to get a knockout because that’s what the fans want to see, so this fight I’m going to box and break him down and if the knockout comes, then it comes, and if it doesn’t, then I will go to the next fight.”

Carto’s trainer, Billy Briscoe said the power punches Carto showed in his 11-knockout streak before the drought is still there, but the stiffer competition against more durable fighters is the main reason.

Carto and Briscoe have been developing Carto’s fighting style to be more rooted in versatility between tactical boxing and power punching.

The fight, billed as the “Philly Special," is the first bout being promoted by Michelle Rosado’s “Raging Babe” first promotional event.

Carto comes from a long line of professional boxers. His grandfather, Ninzio Carto, and two uncles, Frankie and Joe, all fought in the 1930s and 40s. Frankie Carto was world-rated in the 126-pound division for a time.

His grandfather even fought at Madison Square Garden.

“Growing up, our dad would always tell us about our grandpop and our two uncles,” said Frank Carto, Christian’s brother. “Now, as a boxer, I get to go on and actually look and kind of relive their careers a little bit.”

The rest of the card is as follows:

Heavyweight Darmani Rock vs. a fighter to be determined

Welterweight Marcel Rivers vs. Derrick Whitley Jr.

Heavyweight Sonny Conto vs. Jimmie Levins

Bantamweight Alejandro Jimenez vs. Edgar Joe Cortez

Lightweight Gerardo Martinez vs. Osnel Charles

Bantamweight Jonathan Torres vs. Dallas Holden

Bantamweight Jeremy Adorno vs. Sebastian Baltazer