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.
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 Castiglione. 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.
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.
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 match.
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 FinziDecember 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 GigliottiWBU 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 SaianiItalian 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 JommariniItalian 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 BrancalionWBU 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.
PRISCO PERUGINO vs ANDILE NYUMKA
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.
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 target.
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
WBO CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE 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 close.
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 fight.
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