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'Ready? We box!': Sylvester Stallone 'spars' with Pope Francis during Vatican meeting

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
'Ready? We box!': Sylvester Stallone 'spars' with Pope Francis during Vatican meeting
Sylvester Stallone meets Pope Francis at the Vatican on September 8, 2023.
Vatican Media

MANILA, Philippines — Actor Sylvester Stallone and his family had the fortunate opportunity to meet Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican, and the action star poked a little fun during their brief interaction.

Stallone was accompanied by his wife Jennifer Flavin, their three daughters Sophie, Sistine and Scarlet, and his brother Frank to meet the Pope last September 8. The Vatican Media did not share the reason behind their meeting.

After introducing his family to the Holy Father, Stallone thanked Pope Francis for taking the time to meet them. The Pope, now 86, said he was honored to meet Stallone, a sentiment the actor shared.

"We grew up with your films!" Pope Francis said with the help of a translator, which made Stallone laugh and put up his fists, saying, "Ready? We box!"

The gesture was in reference to the 77-year-old Stallone's popular boxing character, Rocky Balboa, and the Pope reciprocated by jabbing the air with his left hand.

Prior to meeting the Pope, the Stallones were in the town of Gioia del Colle to receive their honorary citizenship. It is the town where the Stallone patriarch, also named Frank, was born before immigrating to the United States nearly a century ago.

While in Gioia del Colle, Stallone visited his grandfather's home and showed the public the key to his grandfather's barber shop.

"I just want to say, as Rocky would say, I love you, and keep fighting," ended the actor.

The documentary "Sly," about Stallone's early life and reflections on his career, will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival before hitting Netflix in November.

After appearing in the shows "Tulsa King" and "The Family Stallone," as well as a brief return appearance in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" as Stakar Ogord, Stallone will appear in a fourth "Expendables" movie set for a wide release this month.

RELATED: Pope to create new cardinals who will choose his successor

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