By Peter Lerner: Just like last summer’s long awaited Leonard Bundu-Daniele Petrucci, the clash of two international class Italians finished all square. After 12 rounds two of the judges were unable to separate Silvio Branco and Giacobbe Fragomeni, turning in scores of 115-115 and 114-114. Only Franco Ciminale opted for one of the fighters, giving it to Branco 115-113.
My impression watching on Italian television was that Branco had done enough but looking back at my round-by-round scorecard I found that I had them six rounds apiece. The general consensus was that Branco had edged the fight. The commentary team had him winning by a couple of points while post-match it was Fragomeni who seemed the happier of the two.
Whatever one’s opinion on the final outcome, this was some feat of escapology by Fragomeni. After four rounds he was down on two cards; after eight he was trailing 75-77 on all three cards. So for Sergio Silvi – the 114-114 judge – he won three out of the last four rounds and for Guido Cavalieri he won two and drew two.
The fight followed the pattern that many had predicted beforehand. Branco used lots of movement combined with almost constant jabbing and a series of quick, light flurries to keep the shorter Fragomeni from getting set. Fragomeni, ineffectual in centre ring, had the job of getting Branco to the ropes and then opening up with everything he had. The rounds that Branco won tended to be those in which he managed to keep the home fighter at arm’s length for most of the round and then at least match him punch for punch when backed up to the ropes. Fragomeni’s biggest successes came in the later rounds when he managed to find his rhythm and start to bully his tiring opponent.
For two fighters of their age – Branco is 45 while Fragomeni is 42 – this was an impressively intense fight. While it is questionable how well they would do against the very top cruisers (this fight was for the WBC Silver belt), they both showed that they still have something to offer at international level. Branco, with his long reach, movement and constant punching, is as awkward as ever.
Main fight on the undercard saw Luca Giacon retain his EU lightweight title with a five round technical decision over obstinate Pole Krzysztof Szot. All the cards read 49-46.
The fight was called off due to a nasty cut just under Szot’s hairline. It was caused by an accidental headclash in the third and spurted so much blood that even Giacon’s face was a mess.
It was a slightly frustrating night for the Italian prospect. He showed glimpses of genuine world class in his punch selection and some beautiful slipping and countering on the inside, but he was too easy to hit against a tough but modest opponent. The visitor initially didn’t seem particularly agile or quick but he was very good at stepping far and quickly to get home his jab or right. It’s the sort of fight that will hopefully help Giacon come on. He is now 19-0 (17) while Szot drops to 15-2-1 (5).
The other televised bout lasted all of one minute and fifty-three seconds as Mirko Larghetti stopped Istvan Varga with bodyshots. This cruiser bout was scheduled for six rounds – rather optimistically as Varga had previously been stopped in one round by Laszlo Hubert, who was himself stopped in six by Larghetti in November. Larghetti moves to 16-0 (9).
March 18, 2012