Main events from Italy in 2000

About 2 years ago I started receiving E-mails from a Italian boxing fan about fights involving Italian fighters, which I thought were very informative. I replied to the E-mailer and have received permission to post his fight reports and E-mail address here.

European Boxing: my opinions and ratings at the end of 2000

 Flyweight: Champion: Alexander Mahmutov
                       1. Damaen Kelly  
                       2. Jose Lopez Bueno  
                       3. Jason Booth  
                       4. Peter Culshaw  
                       5. Zoltan Lunka  
                       6. David Guerault  
                       7.Dimitar Alipiev  
                       8. Delroy Spencer

 Alexander Mahmutov conquered the EBU crown beating David Guerault on points. Guerault is 
 a skinny lefty with good timing. His most memorable battle came with Jason Booth who is 
 a pocket fighter who loves in-fighting. Mahmutov is a speedy footworker and good 
 technician. He will have to defend the EBU title right away against Jason Booth (19-1), 
 named official challenger, but first it's probable a voluntary defense against unbeaten 
 but unexperienced spaniard Jorge Mata (7-0-1). Zoltan Lunka, an Hungarian fighting in 
 Germany, is the mandatory challenger of Mexican Fernando Montiel who conquered the WBO 
 title beating Isidro Garcia by TKO in the 7th round. Lunka has a 21-1 record while 
 Montiel is unbeaten at 18-0.

 Bantamweight: Champion: Luigi Castiglione 
                          1. Johnny Bredahl  
                          2. Noel Wilders   
                          3. Jesper Jensen   
                          4. Johnny Armour   
                          5. Dimitri Kirilov   
                          6. Ferid Ben Jeddou  
                          7. Fabien Guillerme  
                          8. Nicky Booth  
                          9. Tommy Waite  
                          10. Kamel Guerfi

 Esham Pickering lost by KO 1 to Mauricio Martinez in a match for the WBO title.
 Johnny Armour beat Francis Ampofo with a majority decision over 12 rounds and conquered 
 the WBU title. Ferid Ben Jeddou will defend the WBU superfly title in February against 
 Spaniard Goyo Perez. Ben Jeddou came from Tunisia to Italy where he fought many years 
 until he conquered this belt in December defeating the South-African Sipho Manty by 
 majority decision. A close match with fast moving Ben Jeddou and Manty who was more 
 planted on his and more concrete. Johnny Bredahl is the official challenger of 

 Super Bantamweight: Champion: Vladislav Antonov  
                               1. Michael Broadie  
                               2. Vincenzo Gigliotti  
                               3. Sergei Devakov  
                               4. Michael Alldis  
                               5. Sandor Koczak  
                               6. Patrick Mullings.

 Vladislav Antonov defeated Sergei Devakov by unanimous decision to conquer the vacant 
 EBU crown. Vincenzo Gigliotti failed to conquer the WBU belt as he was outpointed by 
 Mexican Carlos Contreras in 12 rounds by split decision. Gigliotti lacked international 
 experience as he tried to fight instead of boxing. A good match, however, and Gigliotti 
 positively impressed. 

 Featherweight: World Champion: Naseem Hamed
                 European Champion: Istvan Kovacs    
                 1. Scott Harrison  
                 2. Steve Robinson  
                 3. Cyrille Thomas  
                 4. Spend Abazi  
                 5. Nicky Cook
 Paul Ingle lost the IBF title by KO in the 12th round against South-African Mbulelo  
 Botile. He underwent an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from his brain. Last 
 news was good ones: he regained consciousness and moved his right arm and tried to talk.
 Cyrille Thomas beat Eric Buttez on points to retain the French title. Istvan 'KoKo' 
 Kovacs will fight Antonio 'Chelo' Diaz on January 27 for the vacant WBO title.  
 Kovacs, unbeaten, is a soft puncher but a good technician. Diaz faced good opposition 
 and had only one defeat: telling wins over Daniel Jimenez, Bernard Harris and Orlando 
 Soto in last two years, none inside the distance....

 Jr. Lightweight: Champion: Dennis Holbaek Pedersen  
                   1. Stephen Forbes  
                   2. Tontcho Tontchev  
                   3. Anatoly Alexandrov   
                   4. Affif Djelti   
                   5. Michael Gomez  
                   6. Boris Sinitsin  
                   7. Kirkor Kirkorov  
                   8. Pedro Miranda  
                   9. Prisco Perugino  
                   10. Barry Jones  
                   11. Stephane Haccoun  
                   12. Charles Sheperd   
                   13. Dean Phitie

 Dennis Holbaek Pedersen outpointed Anthony Martinez. Danish Pedersen is a good caliber 
 European champ even if he lost to long time contender Boris Sinitsin. An upset cancelled 
 by winning the rematch in September. His challengers are very dangerous as Stephen 
 Forbes beat John Brown for the IBF crown, Tontcho Tontchev was an amateur star and has 
 stayed unbeaten among pros, Anatoly Alexandrov was WBO champ before being kayoed by 
 powerful Acelino Freitas. Affif Djelti deserves attention because he beat durable 
 English fighters: Phitie and Sheperd inside the distance and Ian McLeod on points.
 Michael Gomez (23-3 13KO) beat Ian McLeod (11-2-1 8 KO) P 12 (card 118-110) for the 
 British Title.

 Lightweight: Champion: Julien Lorcy  
               1. Artur Grigorjan  
               2. Colin Dunne  
               3. Djamel Lifa  
               4. Stefano Zoff   
               5. Billy Schwer   
               6. Michael Ayers   
               7. Jean Baptiste Mendy  
               8. Bobby Vanzie  
               9. George Scott  
               10. Michele Delli Paoli  
               11. Bruno Wartelle  
               12. Zoltan Kalocsai  
               13. Angel Perez

 On January 29, in Paris, the revenge of Julien Lorrcy versus Stefano Zoff with the EBU 
 title at stake. Zoff beat Lorcy on points for the WBA title. Angel Perez (14-1  11KO) is 
 the new spanish champ. He outpointed Oscar Palomino (21-9).

 Jr. Welterweight: Champion: Oktay Urkal 
                   1. Richard Hatton   
                   2. Khalid Rahilou  
                   3. Eammon Magee  
                   4. Shea Neary  
                   5. George Scott  
                   6. Gabriel Mapouka  
                   7. Jason Rowland  
                   8. Salvatore Battaglia  
                   9. Mikhail Boyarskikh  
                   10. Jonathan Thaxton  
                   11. Gianluca Branco  
                   12. Junior Witter

 Upcoming are: Allan Vester (Den, unbeaten but has a draw with mediocre Kenian Nasser 
 Athumani), Souleymane Mbaye (Fra), Giuseppe Lauri (beaten by Allan Vester on a 
 debatable verdict), Leonard Dorin (Rom), Ivan Kirpa (Rus), Fabrizio Melis (Ita).
 Urkal will defend his title on February 10 against Salvatore Battaglia and, if winning, 
 will challenge Konstantin Tszyu for the WBC title. No chance for him as he is a good 
 technician but hasn't power and can't sustain the pressure of Tszyu's attacks. Battaglia 
 won against Vincenzo Finzi on points (10 rounds) to retain the Italian title. He lacks 
 of international experience but doesn't give up. I guess it will be an interesting fight 
 but Battaglia is a clear underdog. Moreover they fight at Urkal's home. Gianluca Branco 
 seems to be the challenger of WBA champ Ener Julio. The Italian promoter Salvatore 
 Cherchi look for a deal with Don King. Branco hasn't had good opposition till now. Is 
 Branco better than he showed or do they want only a good paycheck? On november 25, 
 Frederic Noto beat Nordine Mouchi on points to gain the French title. Good test for the 
 unbeaten Allan Vester when in january he will face the technician swedish George Scott.

 Welterweight Champion: Thomas Damgaard 
              1. Michele Piccirillo  
              2. Alessandro Duran  
              3. Frank Olsen  
              4. Andrei Pestriaev  
              5. Darren Bruce  
              6. Jose Escriche  
              7. Maxim Nesterenko  
              8. Neil Sinclair  
              9. Michele Orlando  
              10. Sergey Bashkirov  
              11. Stephane Cazeaux  
              12. Pasquale Perna  
              13. Harry Dhami  
              14. Frederic Klose  
              15. Scott Dixon  
              16. Spencer McCracken  
              17. Jawaid Khaliq  
              18. Jacek Bielski

 The EBU ordered a rematch between Damgaard and Alessandro Duran (48-11) as the first won 
 by split decision. Damgaard doesn't want fight Duran again because there are too many 
 risks. Duran always won all his rematches but one, against Michele Piccirillo. Damgaard 
 is looking to obtain a world chance and much money. Neil Sinclair lost to Daniel Santos 
 by KO 2 in a match for the WBO title. Daniel Santos kayoed Giovanni Parisi and caused 
 the end of his career. In London Darren Bruce lost an unanimous decision to Willy Wise 
 in a match for the IBO belt. German based Alpaslan Aguzum proved to be a protected 
 fighter recording a 21-0 record before being TKO'd in 1 round by experienced Argentinian 
 Carlos Baldomir in a fight for the International WBC Title. Aguzum has an Oscar De La 
 Hoya's pretty face and a clean type of boxing but it lacks substance. Carlos Baldomir 
 (33-9-4) proved to a real executioner of unbeaten European fighters as he caused the 
 first defeat of Danish Frank Olsen and Serbian Dejan Zivkovic also. Frank Olsen beat 
 unknown Samuel Harvey on points (8 rounds). Maxim Nesterenko did the same with Ruslan 
 Gadsoev. Jose Escriche stopped Carlos Tomar in the 3th round. Harry Dhami (16-4-1) 
 retained the British title by outpointing Spencer Mc Cracken (19-4-1). Jawaid Khaliq 
 (GB, 13-1-1) took the Commonwealth crown by outpointing Sean Sullivan of New Zeland.
 Sergei Bashkirov TKO'd Alexei Perevozchikov in the 11th round to conquer the Russian 
 title. Frederic Klose retained the French title by outpointing Mustapha Bouzid. Unbeaten 
 and untested Dane Christian Bladt (15-0-1) beat Louis Mimoune P6. Poliand's Jacek  
 Bielski stayed unbeaten at 11-0 beating Vladimir Rubailov on points in 12 rounds.

 Jr. Middleweight Champion: Vacant
                  1. Javier Castillejo  
                  2. Mamadou Thiam  
                  3. Anthony Farnell     
                  4. Mikael Rask  
                  5. Orhan Delibas  
                  6. Steve Roberts  
                  7. Adrian Stone  
                  8. Roman Karmazin  
                  9. Derek Roche  
                  10. Paolo Pizzamiglio  
                  11. Christophe Canclaux  
                  12. Scott Dixon  
                  13. Gianluca Iommarini

 Mamadou Thiam will fight Italian Paolo Pizzamiglio on January 29, in Paris, for the 
 vacant EBU title. The weak chin of Pizzamiglio against the powerful frenchman.
 Christophe Canclaux (14-0 12KO) retains the french title with a TKO of Eric Daponte in 
 the 10th round. A bad performance for Canclaux who was hit too much by a mediocre 
 challenger. He must improve his defense. Daponte is a tough guy but hasn't enough power.
 Javier Castillejo will defend the WBC title against japanese Akira Ohigashi in February 
 in Madrid. Steve Roberts, (22-0), beat Mohamed Hissani (12-2) by TKO7 to retain the WBF 
 title. Anthony Farnell kayoed Scott Dixon in the 7th round. Adrian Stone (29-3-2) 
 retained the IBO crown TKO'ing Derek Roche (23-2) in the 2nd round. Mikael Rask (19-1) 
 retained the International WBO title by outpointing very mediocre Patrick Rubes (8-8). 
 What is the real value of Rask? Difficult to say: his only loss came by cut against WBC 
 champ Castillejo but his only telling wins were over Howard Clarke and Ahmet Dottuev, 
 both on points in 1999. Gianluca Iommarini took the italian title with a tech win in the 
 9th round against Luca Mori.

 Middleweight Champion: Vacant  
              1. Erland Betare
              2. Armand Krajnc
              3. Antonio Perugino  
              4. Howard Eastman  
              5. Hassine Cherifi  
              6. Raymond Joval  
              7. Jerry Elliott  
              8. Bert Schenk  
              9. Robert Mc Cracken  
              10. Ali Ennebati  
              11. Cristian Sanavia  
              12. Davide Ciarlante  
              13. Francisco Galvez  
              14. Morrade Hakkar  
              15. Ryan Rhodes  
              16. Stefan Trabant

 Countrymen Robert McCracken (33-1) and Howard Eastman (30-0) are the co-challengers for 
 the European title of Frenchman Erland Betare who will fight for the WBC title. 
 Francisco Galvez (18-0) is the new Spanish champ. He outpointed Amadeo Pena (10-5-2).
 Stefan Trabant (25-2) took an unanimous decision over Francesco Passanante in 8 rounds.
 Raymond Joval, the smart ex WBU champ who defeated Agostino Cardamone and was dethroned 
 by Antonio Perugino, will fight against Aussie Sam Soliman. Joval conquered the IBO 
 crown by decision over South African Mpush Makambi and Soliman is now his first 
 challenger. It seems there will be no problem for the speedy and technician Joval here.
 Morrade Hakkar retained the French title TKO'ing Alban Girouard in the 9th round. Ryan 
 Rhodes returned outpointing in 6 rounds Howard Clarke. Armand Krajnc is for real!! In 
 October he beat ex WBO champ Bert Schenk (24-1) by TKO6. In 1999 there was an upset win 
 over British Jason Matthews but after he confirmed his leadership by TKO'ing Jonathan 
 Corn (29-3-1) in 2 rounds. Now he's 24-0. His weapons are reach, straight punches, good 
 timing and decent footwork. He's not a powerful fighter but the accuracy in throwing  
 punches makes them dangerous.

 Super Middleweight Champion: Andrei Shkalikov  
                    1. Joe Calzaghe  
                    2. Sven Ottke  
                    3. Bruno Girard  
                    4. Glen Catley  
                    5. Markus Beyer  
                    6. Mads Larsen  
                    7. Nordin Ben Salah  
                    8. Richie Woodhall  
                    9. Silvio Branco  
                    10. Robin Reid  
                    11. David Starie  
                    12. Vincenzo Imparato  
                    13. Delroy Leslie  
                    14. Paul Jones

 Upcoming: Mario Veit, Rudy Markussen, Danilo Haussler, Jurgen Brahmer, Antonio 
 Brancalion. Joe Calzaghe beat fellow countryman Richie Woodhall TKO 10 to retain the WBO 
 belt. Mario Veit keeps on winning against bums: Carl Cockeram was stopped in the fourth 
 round by cut.... and so did Rudy Markussen (22-0): Eric Atkinson was TKO'ed in the 1th.
 Andrei Shkalikov (45-5-2 23KO) will defend the EBU title against German Danilo Haussler 
 (15-0 5 KO) on january 27. Shkalikov is a tough and rough fighter while Haussler is 
 untested: fighting at home should help him? Of course last result of Shkalikov would 
 encourage the challenger: Youssef Temsoury (9-10-1) obliged the European champ to a draw 
 in 6 rounds. David Starie TKO'd Alex Mason to retain the British title. Robin Reid beat 
 Mike Gormley by KO in the first round to win the WBF title. Mads Larsen is very busy: 3 
 bouts in last 3 month and 3 wins inside the distance. Last time he stopped Canadian Nick 
 Rupa in four rounds. Vincenzo Nardiello fights again in January, his comeback. Vincenzo 
 Imparato confirmed to be the Italian champ beating for the second time Antonio 
 Brancalion by tech win in the 8th round. Paul Jones stopped Olivier Beard in the first 
 round to catch the international WBC title.

 Light heavyweight Champion: vacant  
                  1. Dariusz Michalczewski 
                  2. Jean Marc Mormeck  
                  3. Clinton Woods  
                  4. Graciano Rocchigiani  
                  5. Yawe Davis  
                  6. Ole Klementsen  
                  7. Robert Nieroba 
                  8. Kamel Amrane  
                  9. Neil Simpson  
                  10. Mark Delaney  
                  11. Zsolt Erdei  
                  12. Thomas Ullrich  
                  13. Juan Perez Nelongo  
                  14. Stipe Drews  
                  15. Konstantin Shvets  
                  16. Giuseppe Ferrazzo.

 Dariusz Michalczewski beat Ka Dy King by TKO in the 7th round to retain the WBO title. 
 The polish but German-based fighter is the only real contender of Roy Jones jr at 
 175lbs. 'Tiger' deserves a world title shot. Neil Simpson (18-11) kayoed Mark Delaney 
 (26-3) in the first round and retained the British title. Kamel Amrane (14-2-1) beat Joe 
 Siluvangi (22-3-1) in 10 rounds to catch the French title. On February 10 there will be 
 the bout for the vacant title between Yawe Davis and Graciano Rocchigiani. You can note 
 as Italian Davis comes from Uganda while German Rocchigiani from Italy!!! Two old but 
 good fighters: Davis the better technician while Rocchigiani has more stamina. If 
 Rocchigiani pulls out there is a ready substitute: unbeaten but untested Thomas Ullrich.
 Jean Marc Mormeck beat Ecuadorian Livin Castillo by KO 3 to gain the WBA international 
 title. Castillo was unbeaten. Mormeck has a great physique and his boxing skills are 
 improving day after day. Amateur star Zsolt Erdei fought his first pro-fight winninh by 
 KO 1 against Filip Houthoofdt. I expect him to be a future European champ, at the very 
 least. Ole Klementsen (43-5) beat Derrick James (16-5) on points over 10 rounds.

 Cruiserweight Champion: Carl Thompson  
                 1. Johnny Nelson  
                 2. Fabrice Tiozzo  
                 3. Vincenzo Cantatore  
                 4. Christophe Girard  
                 5. Torsten May 
                 6. Alexander Gurov 
                 7. Pietro Aurino   
                 8. Bruce Scott
                 9. Alexei Iilin 
                 10. Robert Norton 
                 11. Vincenzo Rossitto 
                 12. Alain Simon 
                 13. Valery Vikhor 
                 14. Jesper Kristiansen  
                 15. Ian Koulkov

 Bruce Scott (23-5) retained the British belt winning by KO against John Keeton (21-11).
 Fabrice Tiozzo had a rematch but Virgil Hill proved again to be the better, demolishing 
 him in 1 round and conquering the WBA title. Vincenzo Cantatore beat Brasilian Rogerio 
 Lobo by TKO 1 on December 26 in Rome for the International WBC Title. Cantatore lost 33 
 pounds to join the cruiserweight division. Lobo has a 24-4 record but no telling wins.
 Mario Tonus beat Massimiliano Saiani by Tech W 9 to retain the Italian title. A first 
 decent test for Jesper Kristiansen. The unbeaten Dane will defend his international WBO 
 title against tough Turan Bagci. Torsten May is the official challenger of Carl Thompson 
 for the EBU title. In november he beat Ian Koulkov on points in 8 rounds. Vincenzo 
 Rossitto beat Colin Abselon by Tech decision in the 7th round. The Italian retained the 
 international supercruiserweight WBU title.

 Heavyweight World Champion: Lennox Lewis   
                 European Champ: Vitali Klitschko   
                 1. Wladimir Klitschko  
                 2. Henry Akinwande 
                 3. Brian Nielsen 
                 4. Andrew Golota
                 5. Danny Williams 
                 6. Timo Hoffman 
                 7. Alexsei Osokin 
                 8. Georgi Kandelaki  
                 9. Nikolai Valouev 
                 10. Christophe Mendy

 The Klitschko brothers keep on punching: on January 27 Vitali will fight Orlin Norris 
 for the international WBA title while on March 10 Wladimir will go in the U.S.A. to 
 fight Derrick Jefferson. Zeljko Mavrovic announced his retirement. Christophe Mendy (13-
 4-1 9 KO) beat Antoine Palatis (24-14-2 13KO) to conquer the French title. Mendy has the 
 physique but not the technique to be a threat for the top fighters. Palatis is an honest 
 ring worker. Henry Akinwande (38-1-1 24 KO), former WBO champ, kayoed Kenny Craven in 
 the first round to win the WBC Continental Americas title. Rene Monse retained the 
 German title with an unanimous technical decision over Ralf Packheiser. The fight was 
 stopped in the 8th with the champ cut and bloody. Monse, unbeaten, is 32 year old and 
 spent too much time in the amateurs. He's a good technician but hasn't the reach, the 
 speed nor the power to fight for international bids. Andrew Golota is still not paid for 
 the fight against Tyson because of his poor performance. Albert Sosnowski, another 
 polish heavyweight, will try to conquer the WBC Jnr title. Sosnowski is a clean fighter 
 but hasn't the handspeed nor the movements to be a champ. Brian Nielsen (59-1) out 
 pointed Dick Ryan to avenge his only loss. Probably his career will end before he fights 
 a real world quality foe.

Vincenzo Rossitto (Italy) vs. Colin Abselon (South Africa)

 December 29, 2000 in Siracusa, Italy
 International WBU Supercruiserweight Title
 Spagnoli E. Sabbatini Production

 Coming with a reported record of 10-1 10 K.O's (afterwards reduced to 7-1-1 7 K.O's) 
 Abselon proved to be a game fighter but not a bomber. Very limited in boxing technique, 
 he only advanced and threw wide shots. Rossitto had a clear advantage in height and 
 reach and Abselon's face was an easy target for every type of punch. Known as a very 
 soft hitter, Rossitto confirmed his lack of power, not being able to stop the relentless 
 attacks of Abselon. Only a cut on the left eyebrow forced the end of the bout during the 
 7th round. until then Rossitto won almost every round of an entertaining match fought at 
 a very high pace by both athletes. A crowd of 3,000 fans (free entrance) appreciated  
 both fighter's effort. Rossitto, unbeaten, should try to join the cruiserweight division 
 where his soft punches could be a minor factor. He's a better technician than Cantatore 
 and has fast hands. Abselon has a good chin, stamina and hearth but lacks height, 
 defense and accuracy.

Vincenzo Cantatore (Italy) vs Rogerio Lobo (Brasil)

 December 26, 2000, in Rome
 WBC International Cruiserweight Title

 Vincenzo Cantatore lost almost 25 pounds to join this division and it worked well. Now 
 he looks like a really well conditioned fighter, more speedy but just as powerful as in 
 the past. In just one round Lobo was down 3 times and consequently stopped. At first a 
 left hook to the chin, second a wide right cross to the head, then a straight right with 
 Lobo coming in. A comfortable win even if Lobo, despite a reported record of 24-3 with  
 19 KO's can't be considered a high quality foe having not beaten any top fighter in the 
 world. Cantatore (22-2 20 KO's), 29 years old, remains a puncher but he tries to throw  
 punches with more accuracy thanks to the work in the gym with his manager Salvatore 
 Cherchi. He hasn't great timing so the defense suffers and the best Cruiserweights could 
 capitalize on his weak chin. It was very difficult to make matches in Rome without the 
 help of television and Cantatore, with his wife and his manager had to struggle until 
 last days. Cherchi said he was offered a match in Germany (with Cantatore challenging 
 Juan Carlos Gomez) but he'd want to bring Virgil Hill in Rome if possible. Great names,  
 in my opinion they are too great, at least for now. I think, for example, that fighting 
 Carl Thompson for the European Title could be a severe test and it will be an explosive 

Michele Orlando vs Francesco Cioffi

 December 16, 2000 in Guidonia
 Italian Welterweight Title

     Where is the bomber? Orlando started his career with an all or nothing attitude and 
 now seems to be calculating every punch he throws. Cioffi, with a reported record of 9-
 14, seemed the right foe for a easy defense of the title. Orlando won but made a poor 
 performance of it. Cioffi is a journeyman with much experience, also international 
 experience, and Orlando used his superior reach to hit but there wasn't power in the 
 shots. Cioffi blocked almost all attacks with a high guard and threw good 'two handed' 
 hooks in reaction: no power in them however. Then Orlando alternated the blows to the 
 head with good wide hooks to the body opening the guard of his foe and landing more. The 
 cornerman asked Orlando to use the straight left-right combination and then the right 
 uppercut when Cioffi reacted, but it was unnecessary as the challenger was cut at the 
 eyebrow and forced to stop at the end of 7th round. The cards gave Orlando the victory 
 by wide margins.

Salvatore Battaglia vs Vincenzo Finzi

 December 14, 2000 in Grosseto
 Italian superlightweight title

 Coming in this fight could be a severe test for the champ as Finzi was unbeaten, but 
 also untested, and has an elusive boxing style. Too elusive this time: skinny and lefty, 
 Finzi danced all the time, threw much, landed almost nothing. Battaglia, a southpaw, 
 tried to fight but didn't accept many risks, won round by round by narrow advantage 
 simply with a slightly superior offensive attitude. This match was fought at long range 
 without a thrilling moment so that Battaglia was asked to give more to improve the show. 
 At the end Battaglia had 7-8 points for his clear victory. Battaglia will be the 
 official challenger to Oktay Urkal for the European title while Finzi has demonstrated 
 he can fight if he wants.

Carlos Contreras vs. Vincenzo Gigliotti

 WBU Super Bantamweight Middleweight Title
 December 6, 2000 in Sassari, Italy 
 (Spagnoli and Sabbatini production. Tonino Puddu matchmaker)

     This fight was for the WBU Super Bantamweight Title which featured Carlos Contreras 
 vs. Vincenzo Gigliotti, for the first time I have seen the Italian super bantamweight 
 champ and I have to say that it worth the time. He faced a difficult international match 
 with the same spirit with which he made his path in our national field: determination 
 and straight forwardness worthy of a man who feels to be number one. The qualities are 
 there; Gigliotti is a fighter who hits with both hands alternating the target, body and 
 head, with enough accuracy and a high pace, at least for the European standards. The 
 punches are not predictable, they are speedy and follow varied trajectories, full of 
 strength but thrown with looseness. Always attacking and with good movements of the 
 waist and on the legs Gigliotti combined a discrete technique. At times Contreras was in 
 danger of absorbing hard hooks with difficulty but he always replied. In fact,  
 unfortunately Gigliotti this time did not face a European boxer, but a Mexican one and 
 Mexico as we all know, is the land of tough fighters, accustomed since youth to climb in 
 the ring to give all what they have without hesitation. 
     I already saw Contreras conquer the title by beating Carlos Navarro in which he 
 overcame the talent of Navarro who eventually succumb to the incessant aggression of 
 Contreas. Contreras is lanky, he doesn't fully exploit the advantage in reach, often 
 accepting the battle to average and short distance where he shows hooks and uppercuts 
 brought with looseness and continuity. Gigliotti paid for his boldness and inexperience: 
 he started like a train, arrived in with a light advantage until the 8th round but then 
 faded and risked losing before the limit. Contreras acted like bicycling champs in that  
 when on mountain roads, they don't sprint to follow their challengers but go on pedaling 
 with a constant rhythm sure to arrive first to the finish. In the 9th round a left
 hook to the liver forced Gigliotti to kneel and from that moment on for him it was only  
 a matter of survival, bravely he continued to answer the attacks of the Mexican who won 
 the last rounds and the match. 
    The verdict wasn't unanimous with a judge who had 7 points of advantage for Contreras 
 and another who instead had 1 for Gigliotti. Many rounds were balanced and perhaps the 
 third judge was right giving 3 points of advantage for the champ. A really a beautiful 
 match, honor for the WBU but is Contreras a world caliber champ? Once more he was 
 protagonist if not spectacular, a intense and balanced match against a good but not  
 super challenger. Contreras hasn't ever faced a real defensive attitude and hasn't a  
 good guard. Moreover he does not have a KO punch. He has durability and stamina, he's a 
 clean fighter with good offensive technique. He's not a champion but if you have the 
 occasion to see him fughting don't miss it. Could Gigliotti adopt a different tactic? He 
 has the handspeed and the footwork to fight another way: he could alternate the 'massive 
 attack' with 'hit and run' to break the continuous rhythm of Contreras winning some more 
 rounds and arriving at the finish with more energies. Evidently accustomed to face  
 mediocre adversaries he did not prepare for this alternative tactic in the gym but at 29 
 he can try again and I hope he does so.

Mario Tonus vs Max Saiani

Italian Cruiserweight Title
December 8, 2000 in San Donà del Piave

     I didn't expect to see a beautiful match but the reality overcame the preview as 
Saiani never succeeded in boxing anyway. Tonus did his part; a boxer of substance, to say 
so, he doesn't propose a fineness or action which lets me think about boxing as the
'noble art'. His physique is more for a bodybuilder than for a boxer. His wide and 
predictable punches landed few times with precision. However his physical strength 
allowed him to bridle Saiani which theorically had to prevail on the technical plan and 
instead never succeeded in anticipating nor countering the attacks of the champ. Moreover
Tonus, after throwing punches, closed the distance, often holding, avoiding that way 
Saiani's reaction. In the 3rd round a knock down, I would say a casual one, of Saiani who 
didn't seem shaken and was on his feet easily. Up to the 9th round the match went on with 
the inaccurate attacks of Tonus, subsequent clinches and some headbutts. A headbutt broke 
the right eyebrow of Saiani and forced the physician to declare a halt to the bout. The 
cards of the judges declared a clear victory for Tonus. Possible a third match between 
the two can be made since Tonus has already shown his limits losing clearly against Yawe 
Davis and Pietro Aurino, so his manager Zoggia doesn't want foes of international
caliber for him.

Luca Mori vs. Gianluca Jommarini
Italian Super welterweight title
November 24, 2000 in Tarquinia, Italy

   Good attendance in the shopping center of Tarquinia to see the home fighter conquering 
the Italian crown as a cut stopped Mori in the 9th round with the two judges having 
Jommarini ahead on points (86-84, 86-84, 84-85). Rosanna Conti Cavini, matchmaker, 
honored Angelo Jacopucci's memory with a gold medal to Angelo' son. Jacopucci was a boxer 
from Tarquinia, Italian middleweight champ, who fought against Alan Minter for the 
European Title but died after the defeat. Also the fighters in the ring honored boxing by 
fighting a good match: Jommarini, encouraged by cornerman Cavallari, put pressure from 
the start while Mori seemed too inactive and lost 3 of the first 4 rounds. Jommarini 
attacks as furious as they were inaccurate but Mori failed to counterpunch with any 
effectiveness. The southpaw champ tried to avoid Jommarini's punches moving at the waist 
and firing with his left hook. Jommarini overwhelmed his foe with two handed action made 
up of above all hooks and uppercuts. In the 5th round Jommarini took a breath and Mori 
prevailed boxing at long range and throwing left uppercuts to the challenger body. In the 
6th Mori equalized on points shaking Jommarini more times with accurate if not powerful 
shots. Moreover the referee deducted 1 point from Jommarini for headbutting. It seemed 
now that the fight, balanced on points, was in the champ's hands. But, as Mori's trainer, 
Zotgia, noticed since from the first rounds, Jommarini had more desire. Mori didn't 
capitalize on Jommarini problems, rather he lost the initiative and the 7th round. In the 
8th Jommarini was at his best again although with a narrow margin, but the 9th round was 
decisive and a point deducted from Mori (perhaps for headbutting, however a very 
debatable decision). In the 9th round both fighters boxed cautiously till an 
unintentional headbutt produced a cut over the left eyebrow of Mori and the doctor 
stopped the bout. Mori recriminated on the referee decision as he thought there was a 
valid reason to disqualify Jommarini. Note: they had a match in April 1999 ended with the 
victory of Mori caused by a cut on Jommarini's face.

Vincenzo Imparato vs Antonio Brancalion
WBU Super Middleweight Title
November 17, 2000 in Lumezzane, Italy

     The right eyebrow of Imparato was cut during the 8th round (unintentional headbutt) 
and the verdict went on points at that time: 77-75 for all 3 judges in favor of the
champion Imparato. It was a disappointing conclusion of a mediocre match between the 
Italian champion, who seems unmotivated to defend such a title but whose manager
doesn't find the road to open new horizons. Brancalion was previously defeated on points 
but appeared to clearly progress this time. Imparato deserves a chance for the European 
title because he doesn't have a rival in Italy and he would meet a boxer he has already 
faced and beaten. Brancalion is young and has a physique worthy of note, if and when he 
finds out know how to exploit it, sharpening his technique and tactic will result in him 
being the probable successor of the national throne. Already in this occasion he showed  
orderly boxing but he has to improve the straight punches using better force and more of 
his left jab. In comparison to the first occasion he boxed more and struggled less but 
even this time he allowed Imparato to counterpunch, an advantage that he shouldn't grant 
having more inches in height and reach. The speculative tactic of Imparato paid oof but if
Brancalion had maintained the lucidity of the first 2 rounds, in which he got to shake 
the champion with a hard right, then Imparato would have been in trouble. The fighter 
with more patience and experience won against the fighter with the desire. Brancalion 
contested the verdict but the judgment could be disputable but is surely acceptable: it 
could have been even or split but the title didn't have to change his master.

Thomas Damgaard vs. Alessandro Duran

European Super Lightweight Title 
November 3, 2000 in Copenaghen, Denmark

     The Dane, unbeaten, was a top world contender among superlights, so we all knew that 
he would be a dangerous test for Duran. At 35, the Italian had to fight out of his 
country because of the indifference of our National TV. In such circumstances a close 
verdict goes almost always to the home fighter and that was the case here. This time the 
Danish organizer, Bettina Palle, can't denigrate the judge's job as she did when 
Castiglione defeated Jensen to conquer the EBU Bantham title. The match started with 
Damgaard putting pressure on Duran, but unable to use the reach advantage. Showing a hard 
left hand, Damgaard piled up the points. He surely won rounds 1,2,6,8 but hardly hit 
Duran in the 2nd and 8th. Duran had a good moment in the 4th and won the last rounds when 
Damgaard was fading because of the high pace he sustained. The Split decision went the 
way of Damgaard: 116-113, 115-114 and 114-115. 

Pasquale Perna vs. Alvaro Moreno

WBU International Welterweight Title
November 3, 2000  in Terzigno
     Pasquale Perna (39-9-1) seems on sunset avenue of his career despite his new title. 
The victory over Alvaro Moreno, gotten on points by a narrow advantage, considering the 
difference of quality between the 2 boxers, cannot be considered a good result. Moreno of 
Columbia (22-6) is a tough fighter with a powerful left hook but throws it exclusively in 
a wide fashion staying well planted on the legs. A boxer endowed with good quality of 
movement and reflexes can easily outbox such a fighter, instead Perna found himself more 
than once distracted in defense and only a few times effective in conterpunching. The 
defeat suffered against Michele Orlando should have engraved on him work ethic and to 
never jeopardize his physical preparation and the determination again. But Against Moreno 
however he appeared out of shape. After few days Perna decided to relinquish this title 
and it is probable that it will be contended by another Italian, Luca Messi, who won an 
eliminator bout against Pernice (Disq. 3rd round) on November 17, and...... Alvaro Moreno.

Michele Delli Paoli vs. Athos Menegola

Italian Lightweight Title
October 11, 2000 in  Marcianise

     Delli Paoli gave a good performance against Moses Mpenza (july) conquering the 
International WBU Title and we waited until now him to confirm the improvements. The 
rematch against Menegola was an intriguing one as Menegola forced the Italian champ to 
a disputed draw in the first match: Delli Paoli faded in the late rounds risking a KO 
defeat but Menegola is not a puncher and moreover is inaccurate: a mediocre fighter very 
dedicated to the noble art. Delli Paoli now probably trains harder than in the past and 
shows it clearly in the ring. Menegola was this time dominated all the way and the judges 
had 98-91 (2 times) and 100-90 in their cards. Delli Paoli was nicknamed 'The Cuban' when 
was among the amateurs. His boxing is really sparkling: good moves with his legs and on 
the waist, a two-fisted attack with various trajectories. The poor boxing of Menegola was 
never a threat and the fighting mechanic (the 'real' job of the challenger) uselessly 
tried to force the action but this time Delli Paoli was well conditioned and controlled 
the fight untill the end. The clean victories he has gotten lately shouldn't allow great 
dreams as he still has to improve the defense (particularly the low guard) and he can't 
count on any type of power in his fists.

Pasquale Perna vs Michele Orlando

Italian Welterweight Title
October 7, 2000 in Olbia, Italy

     The third match between these two fighters finally produced a different result: two 
times Perna has beaten Orlando (first by KO, second on points). This time Orlando showed 
clear improvements in his boxing and deserved the verdict. Orlando was an inaccurate 
puncher without appropriate defense: his 'do or die' style worked against mediocre 
opposition but not against an experienced and technician boxer like Perna (31 years old). 
Orlando now trains in the Tonino Puddu gym and the new trainer taught him what boxing is: 
now he can use his reach advantage, thanks to a good left jab now he knows how change
the action range to suit his legs movements. Orlando piled up a clear advantage on points 
in the first 5 rounds, then it turned into a war in the 6th and the 7th when Perna 
desperately tried to reverse the match course, but Orlando fought back with superior 
force. At that point Orlando cornermen suggested he take no risk and he counterpunched 
Perna who attacked without effectiveness. Is Perna over the hill? Probably, being 
defeated in his European attempts, he lost some motivations. However Orlando (27 years
old), improving again his defense, could have better weapons to compete at the 
international level. By now his main limits are his slow handspeed and his inflexible 
waist movement.

     A few words about a fight not televised in Italy: Luigi Castiglione fought in 
Denmark and conquered the Banthamweight European Title, defeating the Denmark's Jesper 
Jensen on points. A split verdict with the Russian judge Szigov who had 6 points in 
Jensen favour while the other two judges had 3-4 points for the Italian. No Italian 
fighter has won an European Tile out of Italy since 1994. Castiglione is the current WBU 
Superflyweight Champ while Jensen, who beat Salvatore fanni and Luigi Camputaro when 
fighting at flyweight, was the IBC Superflyweight Champ.

Salvatore Battaglia vs. Cristian Giantomassi

Italian Super Lightweight Title
September 22, 2000 in Parma, Italy

     After winning 2 fights against Massimo Bertozzi, Battaglia kayoed Giantomassi in the 
fifth round to establish himself as the deserving Italian Champ of the super lightweight 
division. Superbly conditioned, he showed again an iron will and ruled the fight from the 
start. Giantomassi tried to maintain distange, throwing straight punches but without 
determination never landing any telling shots. On the other side the lefty Battaglia 
easily found the way to hit the challenger with his straight left and used almost every 
blow to accumulate the advantage in the first 4 rounds, then, in the fifth countered an 
attack of Giantomassi and kayoed him. Giantomassi stayed a minute on the canvas but 
didn't suffer serious damage. His scholastic boxing and the glass chin are heavy deficits 
for the progression of his career. Remember Giantmossi was kayoed even by Bertozzi: 2 
defeats, 2 by ko and both against fighters who have only decent power. Battaglia is not a 
great champ: his real weapons are determination and optimal athletic condition. Fighting 
at high pace with good hand speed, discrete movements, careful defense, high left guard, 
he may be a tiresome foe for boxers of European caliber.

Big European fight weekend

                               Mario Tonus vs Massimiliano Saiani

Italian Cruiseweight Title
September 15, 2000 in Piacenza, Italy

     Mario Tonus became the new Italian champ as the bout was stopped in the fourth round 
because of a cut. An accidental headbutt caused the cut and Saiani lost a fight which was 
very close at that moment. The 2 judges had it even and the third 1 point of advantage 
for the hometown fighter. Tonus is 33 years old and his record is 18-3, he is not a 
talented nor experienced fighter but a brave and tough man who fights like a tank. Saiani 
was the better technician but he has to prove that he can handle this type of foe over 10 
rounds. He deserves a rematch and probably will obtain it soon: there are so few 
cruiserweights in Italy. However the next contender for Tonus will be Fabio Minelli (10-3-
2). If Tonus beats Minelli and Saiani, then his manager will examine international goals 
for the fighter from Treviso.

                         Andrei Shkalikov (UKR)  vs  Frederick Alvarez (ITA)

European Super middleweight championship 
September 16, 2000 in Chateauroux, France

     Alvarez is an Italian who fights with a Swedish license. He did not have the 
background to compete for the vacant European Title; his record with many victories was 
built against mediocre opposition while the tough Shkalikov can boast a victory against 
Mauro Galvano, one of the best European supermiddleweights iof the nineties. However 
Alvarez fought bravely and was competitive for the first 5 rounds. Then he faded and the 
powerful hooks of Shkalikov found their target easily until the 8th round when Alvarez 
collapsed, regained his feet then was stopped by his cornermen with a thrown in towel.

                          Julien Lorcy (FRA) vs Gianni Gelli (ITA)

European lightweight championship
September 16, 2000 in Chateauroux, France

     Same outcome for the lightweight Gianni Gelli but this fight was one sided. Gelli 
obtained his best result when he outpointed George Scott, an upset caused more by the 
disappointing perfomance of the Swedish boxer. Lorcy is a little tank and Gelli is not a 
refined boxer which made him fight face to face and eventualy was overwhelmed. In the 
third round it ended with a defenitive KO.


WBU International Superfeatherweight Title 
September 8, 2000 in Telese Terme, Italy

     Perugino, a 28 year old with a record of 18 victories (6 ko's) and 2 defeats (both 
suffered against Stefano Zoff), faced an international test against a boxer from South 
Africa who being already 31 years old could only boast only 11 professional fights with 8 
victories (4 ko's) and 3 defeats. The match was very hard fought; the two boxers showed 
courage and desire to win, facing each other without tactics and trying load up on their 
punches on every occasion. Perugino has a good reach and moves quite a lot on the waist. 
It's a pity he doesn't have timing nor enough lucidity for which his actions. He often 
looks decomposed, inaccurate and besides it dangerously exposes him to the counter 
punching of his foe. Nyumka fights wildly and suffered a knock down in the 2th round 
because of a hard right hook after having been already heavily hit more times during the 
same round. Nevertheless this was the only moment in the match in which we could presume 
a conclusion before the limit, Perugino marked a constant superiority, but he was 
inaccurate lacked of power to finish the mediocre Nyumka. A clear victory on points for 
the Italian at the end of 10 rounds, but the confirmation that the level of his boxing 
won't allow big goals to him.  

Title updates

     The welterweights were the protagonists during the last 2 months in Italy. 
First we have the 'old' Alessandro Duran defending his European Title against 
the durable Spanish Juan Jose Escriche. Duran suffered a knock down but 
Escriche has only a hard right hand and is not talented so the Italian could 
win with a large margin on points, thanks to his speed, movements and 
spectacular combination punching. The usual lack of power prevent a win 
inside the distance for Duran. 

     Giovanni Parisi made a comeback trying to conquer the third 'world' title 
in 3 different divisions but found out good opposition as the WBO champ Daniel 
Santos of Puerto Rico was better conditioned and moreover a lefty. Parisi was 
inactive during a year and tried to fight among the welterweights, he started 
his pro-career among the lightweights. Parisi never had an iron chin and his 
boxing is not speculative so he fought bravely but Santos is a young, talented 
fighter with some pepper in his shots. The Puerto Rican has a good hand and 
foot speed. Parisi was named 'Flash' but did not have advantage this time nor 
in the power department. Technically boht should pay more attention on defense 
and particularly Parisi, who suffered damage because of his low right hand: 3 
knockdowns all by the left hand of Santos. Despite all this the fight was close 
during the first 3 rounds it seemed that Santos had less problems to sustain 
the pace and to absorb the shots. In the 4th round Parisi was clearly fading 
and Santos easily hit him closing the match. A hard beating for Parisi who 
announced a definitive retirement.

     Michelle Piccirillo had some problems for the matchmaking of his defense 
of WBU title but no problems in the ring against late substitute Andrew Murray 
(Guyana). Murray is a decent boxer with good physique but the Italian is a 
better technician. As Parisi is unpredictable and his boxing goes with 
flurries, so Piccirillo on the contrary has solid boxing skills and can dictate 
the pace. He lacks the KO punch nor is he iron chinned, but to beat him it will 
take a top ten fighter. Lefty, Murray lost almost every round without being 
dangerous. The straight punches and the footwork of Piccirillo made the 
difference and this win stated the number one position of Piccirillo in Italy 
and in Europe. His manager Giulio Spagnoli wants the 'great fight' and he said 
it may be realized if DeLaHoya will beat Mosley as Spagnoli already has an 
agreement with DLH. So much for that!

Silvio Branco vs. Robin Reid

WBU Supermiddleweight Title
June 24, 2000 in Glasgow, Scotland

     Against a well adversary who moreover fought at home, Silvio Branco
deserved the title he conquered, unlike his debatable win over U.S.
fighter Glencoffe Johnson. This time an unanimous and indisputable verdict
was rewarded to Branco at the end of 12 rounds. Reid was WBC champ and boasts a
victory over Vincenzo Nardiello who was crushed by the muscular English boxer. 
Reid is not a model of style, has evident limits fighting almost exclusively 
with wide punches but he is solid, hits very hard and throws series of punches.
Inactive for more than one year however he faded as the match progressed and
by the half way point of the match Branco was able to control his foe thanks to 
his great advantage in height and reach. As usual Branco was satisfied to try 
of to win by close margin round after round, after the fight he explained that 
this is his boxing style: If my adversary is worth 30 I am worth 31, if he is 
worth 100 I am worth 101, it is not a good characteristic but I don't care. It 
is also true that Branco does not have a solid chin as showed by the KO's 
suffered against Richie Woodhall and Agostino Cardamone, boxers which
don't have power as their principal weapon. Branco was right therefore not
to risk against Robin Reid, using the straight blows as usual, almost always
the left hand, but above all avoiding the hard exchanges. In the Supermiddle
division the Italian doesn't have impossible rivals and he could arrive to
conquer the absolute title: that's what said by his manager Giulio Spagnoli who
would like to challenge the German IBF champion Sven Ottke, if Ottke will 
succeed in preserving the title in the difficult test that opposes him
with U.S. puncher Charles Brewer. Ottke won the first challenge thanks to
a home verdict and Brewer had to wait a lot of time before getting a
deserved revenge. In this division the Europeans are protagonist thanks to
the mediocre quality of the U.S. fighters, in fact besides Brewer only
James Butler and Omar Sheika are emerging while Glencoffe Johnson and Thomas
Tate are by now over the hill. The Europeans are a big group and they excel
in the ratings of all the alphabet boys: Joe Calzaghe (gb) is the WBO champ,
Silvio Branco (ita) WBU, Bruno Girard (fra) WBA, Sven Ottke (ger) IBF, Glenn
Catley (gb) WBC, Markus Beyer (ger), Richie Woodhall (gb) and Nordin Ben
Salah (hol).

Antonio Perugino vs William Gare

Middleweight WBU Title
June 3, 2000 in Caserta, Italy

     Gare, late substitute of fellow countryman Tshuma, was a better challenger
as he beat Tshuma and conquered the international WBC title defeating Commando 
Kalekuzi in his last match. Gare is a fast moving boxer and a well balanced one 
so he can throw pucnhes while paying attention to the defense. Not a powerful 
fighter, he was a superwelter in the past, but a very good left hand: jabbing 
or hooking it dangerously. On the other hand he has a bad right hand: never a 
telling blow. Perugino, despite his muscular structure, is a counterpuncher as 
the ex World Champ Sumbu kalambay taught him to be. Perugino isn't an accurate 
puncher and obtains the best results moving on the legs and trunk, throwing a 
single shot or short speedy series. His left, jab or hook, plus the right hook 
are his weapons. 
     The match: surprisingly Perugino was on the canvas during the 2nd round as 
a countering left hook of Gare hit him clean. A clean knockdown but Perugino 
absorbed it well and kept fighting without problems. Gare did not win any more 
rounds until the 7th in which he succesfully tried to accelerate, winning 7th, 
8th and 10th which however were close rounds. After that he got exhausted and 
Perugino obtained an easy victory in the last 2 rounds against an absolutely 
passive foe. The cards: 116-111, 177-110, 117-109 all for the unbeaten Perugino 
while Gare now is 14-5.

Michele Piccirillo vs Walter Crucce

Welterweight WBU Title
May 20, 2000 in Piancavallo, Italy

     Piccirillo beat another Argentinian boxer, probably the most dangerous
considering that Coggi was at the end of his career when he faced the Italian
champion. Crucce was was introduced with a record of 36 victories, 30 before the
limit, 3 defeats and a fameed tough boxer who always comes in with a relentless 
style. He mantained the expectations but the champ is today an experienced 
boxer, able to face any foe. The match was not beautiful because Crucce tried 
to do with the impetuousness what he didn't succeed with in technique and sense 
of timing. Attacking he was inaccurate always having to throw his shots from 
long range against a taller Piccirillo. His right uppercuts and left hooks were 
fast but the Italian had the time to avoid or to divert them. 

     On the other hand Piccirillo had difficulty with the vitality and the 
mobility of the Argentinian and he was not able to use the straight punches
at his best resulting in inaccuracy. At short range the 2 fighters did not
box but they used mutual incorrectness: a sturdy boxer as Crucce would have
to know how to do better in similar circumstances. In conclusion Crucce
seemed a solid and aggressive fighter, with discrete power and great
vitality. Piccirillo is a boxer of superior quality but his clean boxing is
effective only at long range and at low or medium pace. Besides he does not have
the power nor solidness necessary for beating Oscar De You Hoya, his declared 

Prisco Perugino vs Massimo Conte

Italian Superfeatherweight Title (vacant)
May 12  2000,  in Marina di Grosseto, Italy

     Prisco, Antonio's brother, the WBU champ of the Middles, returned to 
victory after the ugly matches against Stefano Zoff who outclassed Perugino and 
forced him to be disqualified for the first time, and to quitting in the
second match. He only has these 2 defeats and is 28 years old; this would be the
time to obtain international goals but it doesn't seem to me he made progress 
in the tactical management of the fight. He showed good physical condition and 
the modest Conte never succeeded in sustaining the furious pace of the new-
champ who overwhelmed him in the 4th round. First a standing count and then the 
definitive tko enacted the clear victory of Perugino but despite the actual 
triumph, to my notice, he doesn't administer adequately energies. He does not   
throw punches with a fight plan. This is a serious handicap for a boxer not 
solid neither powerful. The straight punches and the high pace were enough 
against Conte who did not succeed in defending and, when counterattacking, 
wasn't fast nor accurate. Conte has already given the best of himself and now 
is over the hill.

Valentino Manca vs. Luca Mori

Italian Superwelterweight Title
April 21, 2000 in Guastalla, Italy

     After the attempt to conquer the European title, faced with courage but lost 
to the undisputed superiority of Frenchman Mamadou Thiam, Manca did not even 
succeeded in preserving the Italian title. His performance was dissapointing 
against a foe who had the height and reach advantage but no boxing skills. Manca 
is strong but so inaccurate when attacking to result ineffective. He throws almost 
exclusively wide punches and in this circumstance he lacked continuity leaving too 
much space to the challenger. Mori has neither class nor good technique; most 
particularly he would have to know how to throw better straight punches and to 
move his legs in a useful way. His action results in confusion and often ends in
tying or pushing. As for dirty actions Manca hit repeatedly on the neck during 
phases at short range so the referee took 1 point from him in the 8th round. An 
ugly match in which many rounds were balanced with Mori who threw some more punches
anticipating the champion Manca who almost always threw his hooks in a blind way, 
striking the challenger on the arms or resoundingly missing the target. Mori didn't 
even get some effect when, rarely, landed his shots, while Manca seemed not to 
succeed to expressing his greater power. At the end the verdict was not unanimous 
but the disparity between the judgments was resounding: 98-91 and 97-92 in favor of
Mori, 95-94 in favor of Manca. For Mori a deserved victory that however I doubt 
will bring him far, while for Manca a defeat that costs him the opportunity to 
challenge Matumla for the WBU title. The Tanzanian beat Pizzamiglio on June 5, 
1999 by KO in the second round. Manca's manager thinks that the Sardinian boxer
has an advantage facing a fighter who came to battle. The matchmaker Rosanna Conti 
Cavini could prepare the match despite the defeat: it is well known that it isn't 
so  hard to be designed as WBU world contenders. 

Dariusz Michalczewski vs Graciano Rocchigiani

WBO Lightheavyweght Title 
April 15, 2000 in Hannover 

     Finally a good match! It seemed there was a clear favourite as Michalczewski, 
unbeaten after 42 meetings, 31 years old, faced older Rocchigiani, 36 but with the 
last 2 years of inactivity. The prognostication was obviously for Michalczewski 
but a precedent between the two was made interesting by revenge since Rocchigiani 
lost onw a disqualification after having kayoed the Dariusz, with a punch after 
the break; besides Rocchigiani was in points advantage in the moment of the sto. 
The revenge also saw the success of Michalczewski, this time without polemics, 
but the match was beautiful and balanced until the end. Rocchigiani is lanky and 
has a good reach but seems to prefer the box to average and short range. Dariusz 
Michalczewski is solid and brave as the adversary, the pace is high, many punches 
are thrown, only a few wasted, with varied trajectories, technically correct and 
stylistically pleasant. Narrow hooks to the face, uppercuts with both hands, hooks
to the sides, taking care of defense above all with a careful guard. Michalczewski 
concluded before the limit the 3 quarters of his matches and showed superior power 
to Rocchigiani who instead has 50% of his wins by KO. The age and the rust prevent 
Rocchigiani to sustain the pace and after the first rounds the number of punches 
landed were in favor of the champion. At the end of 8 rounds Michalczewski has 
2-3 points of advantage and in the 9th round he succeeds in putting the challenger
down with a hook to the liver obtaining a KD. In the 1 minute interval Emanuel 
Stewart recommends to abandon the fight to avoid further punishment. Rocchigiani 
has to think about retirement even if he could challenge others fighters with 
international titles as he's still a tough guy and a smart fighter. Regarding 
Michalzewski there are talks about his challenge to Roy Jones but do they really 
wish to organize this big match? Michalczewski has many fans without risking so
much. Roy Jones would be an almost insuperable obstacle being superior in speed,
power and mobility. Only a defect of concentration of Jones, too presumptuous in 
some circumstances, would allow the German to surprise him. 

Silvio Branco vs Glencoffe Johnson

WBU Supermiddleweight Title 
April 15, 2000 in Padova 
Johnson introduced himself declaring his defeat against Sven Ottke was undeserved
that aroused many polemics, but he had to discover that to win in Italy is also 
difficult as a win in Germany on points. Branco, lost the middleweight WBU title 
against Cardamone, changed divisions and got this new 'world' chance without 
sustaining meaningful matches. In a first moments it seemed that the Italian had 
to face Reginaldo Andrade but in a change he got a more dangerous challenger. As 
usual Branco used his good physical, lanky and mighty structure at the same time, 
against an adversary 4 inches shorter. His conservative and prudent tactic has 
however disgusted the Italian boxing fans despite their support towards a fellow 
countryman. The Italian boxer ultimately had his best weapon in the speed, the 
sense of timing, the ability to win round after round with a slight advantage but 
in the case of Branco this type of attitude exasperated one to the maximum and at 
the end of every round a very precise scale is needed for establishing if he won 
the round or not. Even this time it was difficult to have a fair verdict: the 
Italian commentator Mattioli, had a 8 point advantage for Johnson (according to
the rules WBU that assign 2 points of advantage to the winner of every round), 
the 3 judges had Branco winning a unanimous and clear decision. The public in 
Padova booed Branco and the judges for a long time. About the match it is better 
to stretch a compassionate veil since during the 12 rounds there have been 2 or 
3 moments of pathos and for the rest it was the usual accountant work of Branco 
against an adversary who wasn't able to attack him with vehemence and who therefore 
boxed with the same speculative attitude. The world boxing organizations and the 
WBU more than the others, give only their name to organizers which try of to 
promote the career of some boxers. The boxer of the organizer enjoys the favorable 
attitude of the judges: if he's not kayoed or doesn't suffer a clear dominion from 
the adversary, he has a win in the pocket. Branco did not appreciate some comments 
from the commentator in the post-match or a really angry was Johnson who rolled 
on the ring knowing the verdict. Perhaps the only thing to do is remember the 
names of the judges so to be aware in the future: Bloyd (AUS) 238-221, Stone 
(GB) 237-221, Rega (ITA) 236-226. If the victory of Branco is very debatable, 
the discrepancy of points decreed by the judges is ridiculous. Mattioli has spoken 
of theft and the other commentator, ex great champion, Nino Benvenuti also with 
the usual attitude 'I say and I don't say' agreed with him. 

Cristian Sanavia vs Francesco Pernice

Italian Middleweight Title 
April 14, 2000 in Ariano Polesine 
     The little tank retained the Italian title without problems. Sanavia climbed 
into the ring to win by KO and did not take care much about the defense. From the 
technical point of view he impressed in less favorable manner that in the match 
against Claudio Ciarlante but evidently this foe didn't worry him and he aimed to d
emolish him as his fans invited to do with a banner on the tribune. Pernice, with 
9 wins 5 defeats and 1 draw, fought with courage despite suffering a standing 8
count in the first round because of a wide left hook. He got some satisfaction 
in the 2th round landing some countering hits on the face of the assaulting 
adversary who even if using the usual technique based on the movement of his waist
did not succeed this time to cover himself sufficiently with the guard, usually 
hermetic, before attacking. Sanavia finished his work in the 3th round when he 
overwhelmed Pernice with a two handed attack in which he landed 4-5 hooks with 
adequate accuracy. Pernice was counted out by the referee for the second time and 
made sign not to feel good enough to continue so it was ruled a TKO. Sanavia is
unbeaten and probably already thinks toward international titles. His short stature 
is the most evident handicap that he has to overcome for obtaining his goals.

Lorenzo Di Giacomo vs. Eric Daponte

Superwelterweight Intercontinental Wbu Title 
April 10, 2000 in Montesilvano 
     A young fighter, 22 years old, unbeaten, against a veteran, 36, who disputed 
few more than 40 matches losing half of them. The fight took place in the home turf 
of the Italian thanks to the organization of Spagnoli. Di Giacomo is not well known 
by the fans despite his already being intercontinental WBU champ of the welters 
because he has not faced valid foes to define his value. His last outcomings 
disappointed the observers. At first sight Daponte seemed physically stronger but 
Di Giacomo shows a slight advantage in agility and speed. Too few to avoid the 
attacks of the Frenchman that are not exceptional but seemed dangerous for Italian 
who has not the appropriate technique. Di Giacomo did not exploit the advantage
in reach, doesn't throw enough straight punches and above all he seems to improvise 
all the actions. Daponte is a clean and concrete boxer but only suceeded in some 
rounds in giving continuity to his action. Di Giacomo, wearing jogging shoes (?)
doesn't succeed in avoiding the rather slow action of Frenchman and clearly suffers 
from his blows. Between the rounds he complains for pain, as he seems to have 
stomach problems, but this won't be the cause of the defeat that comes in the 7th 
round, at the end of notable forcing by Daponte who closed with a hook to the 
liver. The Italian was soon on his feet but exhausted so the referee declared the 
end. After the first 6 rounds, to my notice, Di Giacomo had a 1 point advantage
but he never succeeded in prevailing in a clean manner while Daponte, threw
almost exclusively looping hooks and landed the most meaningful punches. 

Johnny Nelson vs. Pietro Aurino

April 8, 2000, in Bethal Green, London, England

The wrong combination of styles and the lack of determination of the challenger 
made ugly a match and disappointing conclusion. Nelson's manager Frank Warren when 
asked about the challenger Aurino almost apologized about the match. Explaining 
that it was a mandatory defense so they had to meet the Italian: this is the best 
statement about the quality of this match. The Italian lefty, who has his weapons 
in handspeed and sense of timing, had an adversary with a clear advantage in height 
and reach, who fights with a similar style. Nelson has a physique that seems built 
for boxing; he is not a big champ because he lacks the necessary consistency and 
power but his boxing is very tiresome and he has to be attacked to avoid his 
punches. Aurino was never given to action accepting the game of the British champ 
who won many rounds despite throwing few and ineffective hits. After all it is not 
sure that the Italian boxer could beat Nelson engaging a hard battle. The only 
highlight in the match was in fact at the end of the first round, caused by an 
uppercut to the face of Aurino which sent Aurino to the canvas, without stunning 
him. Aurino doesn't have the power to KO boxers rated among the first ten of the 
World: his quitting, in the 7th round after a mutual headbutt, which did not 
provoke wounds, seemed a declaration of impotence. Aurino lost the first fight of 
his career but he's only 23 years old and will have other occasions if he will 
dedicate the correct time to this sport and will unite the desire to suffer and 
to win to his sure talent. He was rated number one by the WBO without worth. Nelson 
is 33 years old, has 12 defeats and has an unspectacular conservative style but
he's giving his best now and deserves a shot at the real World Championship held 
by the Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez.

Michele Delli Paoli vs. Athos Menegola

Italian Lightweight Title
April 7, 2000, Toscolano Maderno, Italy

The champion hardly succeeded in preserving his title thanks to a draw as 2 judges 
had 95 even while the third gave a 1 point advantage to the challenger. The match 
was mediocre as Delli Paoli is young and unbeaten but keeps disappointing observers. 
He shows possibilities to do more than he has already done. A willing Menegola,
technically poor, little punch and not exceptional plan of attack also forced Paoli
to struggle. Delli Paoli was nicknamed "The Cuban" during his amateur boxing career 
but he failed to achieve results equal to such definition and it doesn't seem that 
he is able to get them as a professional fighter. He has an elegant style but he
completely lacks of consistency both in the offensive and in the defensive phase. 
When attacking he's accurate only if he doesn't load up and moreover he doesn't
have power, while defending he has a wide open guard overstimating his ability
to avoid punches with movements from his waist. He succeeded in winning the first 
3 rounds landing straight punches against a Menegola who didn't attack with any 
decision and opened his guard everytime he tried to throw his looping hooks. Since 
Menegola increased the pace Delli Paoli was not able to counter with effectiveness 
anymore and struggled to survive. At the end of the 6th round the match returned 
in equilibrium but Menegola took a breath. Delli Paoli returned to the fight thanks 
to the pace's decrease and the only round clearly in favour of one of the two 
contenders was the tenth that saw the challenger attacking with good results. 
However the draw may be a fair verdict even if Menegola was sorry, having lost 
a good occasion to light up a honest career. 

Michele Orlando vs. Pasquale Perna

Italian Welterweight Title 
March 24, 2000 In Battipaglia, Italy 

     The revenge match was resolved with another victory for Perna but this time 
it arrived, against all odds, at the end of 10 hard rounds. Orlando constantly 
held the initiative not attacking like a Kamikaze, a tactic which cost him with
1st round kayo in the first match. Perna suffered the pressure of the champion but 
he answered with better boxing class and obtained the Italian championship again 
although the verdict was controversial (1 and 2 points in his favor, the 3th judge 
having 2 points for Orlando). Perna got his best results in the phases where Orlando 
tried to force the action with power shots. Orlando, taller and with a big reach 
advantage, used few and not very well placed the straight shots. Perna is faster 
and has good timing which allowed him to be effective especially in the counter-
punching. At the European level Perna has not succeeded in the past and I don't 
believe that he will find easy chances today but he deserves a last one. He is 31 
years old, has a decent technique but he lacks the physical consistence and above 
all the punch to compete with the best continental fighters. Orlando, 26 years old, 
showed the usual technical limits: against a skilled boxer he never succeeded in 
landing clear and powerful punches at the same time. He is a rough puncher who 
can't take a hard punch. For this reason he can't think about winning by power 
against weaker but more skilled foes: they take advantage of his deficiencies like 
his wide open defense when he tries loading up his punches. The match was a bloody 
one with mutual (un-intentional) headbutts and abundance of cuts. A pair of cuts 
in the scalp of Orlando flooded the ring with blood, also dirtying a television 
camera. To complete the picture cuts on the eyebrows of Perna (who always suffers 
this handicap) and a swollen face of Orlando from the first round on. Tough and 
rough fight with few good boxing actions, always initiated by the new champion. 

Yawe Davis Lule vs Mohamed Benguesmia

March 3, 2000 in Siracusa, Italy 

At 38 Davis is still a boxer of international level. The challenger was 8 years 
younger and was introduced with a decent curriculum even if the most remarkable 
match, against Antonio Tarver, resulted as a defeat. A fading Davis was feared
going to the full distance considering that the Algerian seemed capable to take 
the hits of the Ugandian, who became Italian several years ago. In fact Benguesmia 
showed a tough chin and also good hand speed and continuity of action. Besides he
exploited what is known to be the weakness of the lefties like the champion: the 
vulnerability of their defense towards the straight right. Between two physically 
strong boxers, Davis was the stronger: he almost always held the initiative, easily
absorbing the punches of the adversary. Benguesmia moved on his legs more during 
the match not being able to sustain the hard exchanges of punches. So in the 12th 
round he was even the more tired but lasted the distance to lose on point decision.
Benguesmia boxed well because Davis is a good counterpuncher while he struggles 
in pursuing the adversary: Davis doesn't have fast footwork so sometimes he looks 
awkward when attacking. At the end the judges had between 6 and 9 points for Davis,
perhaps too many. However indisputable was the victory even if many rounds were 

Massimo Bertozzi vs. Salvatore Battaglia

March 3, 2000 in Siracusa, Italy

Bertozzi is 33 years old, a record of 26 wins and 21 defeats. The upset win against 
the emergent Cristian Giantomassi allowed him the conquest of an Italian title that 
he has held at other times in the lower division. He has never successfully defended 
his titles, always losing them at the first challenge and so it was also this time. 
The challenger, 8 years younger, was introduced with a record of 11 victories and 
1 defeat. He wasn't known as a big prospect and this performance confirmed his 
mediocre boxing skills. However he's very determined and aware of his limits. 
Salvatore Melluzzo, ex European champ and brave boxer, takes care of him, guarantee 
of professional attitude and sacrifice in the gym. The match wasn't beautiful 
because it was to one sided: at the end Battaglia piled up an advantage that the 
judges have appraised between 9 and the 11 points. The challenger attacked from 
the beginning and Bertozzi didn't oppose with valid counterpunching trying to limit 
the damages only, backpedaling and throwing isolated punches. The lucky KO punch 
succeeded against Giantomassi but, considering that Bertozzi doesn't possess big 
power, it was not reasonable to hope for repetition. Battaglia, left-handed, has 
draws his strength from rhythm and his courage: always ahead without thinking too 
much, throwing punches, often inaccurate, that cut the stamina to his foe and 
prevent him from exploiting the light advantage in reach and eventually also in 
timing. Really the stamina is missed to Bertozzi in the 5° round when, struck by a 
straight left to the stomach, he was also forced to the canvas. Battaglia did not
complet the work for lack of accuracy and because Bertozzi, at that point, lost 
every velleity of victory accenting his defensive attitude for the rest of the 

Artur Grigorjan vs. Sandro Casamonica

WBO Lightweight Title
February 19, 2000 in Berlin (Germany)

     The Uzbeko Grigorian dominated the fight from the start bringing a big number 
of punches more than the Italian. Sandro withstood the punishment for a long time 
and tried to react in different occasions with attacks which didn't produce any 
decisive effects. Both the boxers lack power and despite an infernal pace and 
the many punches landed, no one fell until the 8th round. Obviously Casamonica, 
who suffered an avalanche of fists and didn't see favorable perspectives to 
continue the match, surrendered. Clearly behind on the cards and not owning the 
KO punch, the Italian lost his hope to win and put a knee on the canvas, a prelude 
to quitting in the following round. Grigorjan is a left-handed, still unbeaten,
very skilled in the offensive phase thanks to his accuracy and the speed with 
which he throws the punches. He is able to impose an high pace to sustain it with 
continuity but, as I have said, the power is mediocre despite throwing a left 
with a lot of spontaneity and loading up with the weight of the body. 

     In defensive phase he left too much space to his foe but he absorbed his 
punches without making a fold and rather it seemed that he wanted to allow Italian 
to attack for surprising him with vehement reactions. After all Casamonica has 
evident limits of power and physical strength but is a good boxer from the point 
of view of the technique. For Casmonica it is another stop after the defeat 
suffered against Billy Schwer. But this time he lost before the limit. To my view 
his style is too much 'clean': he makes his moves and leaves the same possibility 
to the adversary without the least shrewdness. A much too frontal guard and lack 
of gladiator physique also limit him. In the category of the lightweights there 
aren't great champions and Grigorjan can face the best but perhaps for the German 
organizers it would not be a bargain to challenge Steve Johnston who is good but 
it is not famous. Too many risks not appropriately repaid by a possible victory.

My lightweight rankings: 1. Steve Johnston 2.Gregorio Vargas 3. Paul Spadafora
                         4. Angel Manfredy 5. Cesar Bazan 6. Artur Grigorjan
                         7. Ivan Robinson 8. Colin Dunne 9. Arturo Gatti
                         10. Gilbert Serrano

Valter Chiarottini