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20 NOVEMBER 2018


Di Luisa Continues Reign Of Terror

By Peter Lerner: Andrea Di Luisa’s Italian super middle title fights have now lasted a combined total of six minutes. In April he won the vacant title by stopping Roberto Cocco in just 41 seconds. On Friday night he got the job done after 2.19 of the second round, a crunching hook to the body taking everything out of the previously undefeated Giuseppe Brischetto.

This fight was a military derby, between Di Luisa from the army and Brischetto from the air force. More importantly, it was the latest in a series of attractive match ups over the last 18 months for the Italian title. Being national champion is starting to mean something again.

Di Luisa came in with a 9-0-0 (9) record, Brischetto 8-0-0 (4). Very few had seen Brischetto fight beforehand and there was some curiosity amongst the press as to just what he could produce. In the first round he revealed himself to be a cagey counterpuncher, generally careful but bold enough to let the punches go in bunches when he saw the chance. Some journalist even gave him the first round as he slotted home a few counter rights and uppercuts while Di Luisa pressed menacingly. It was apparent however that these punches were not getting the champion’s respect.

The end came in the next round when Di Luisa launched a prolonged attack which forced Brischetto right across the ring. Hardly any of the punches penetrated the challenger’s high guard but that didn’t matter – Di Luisa had him where he wanted him: on the ropes and concentrating on defending his head. That left all the space he needed to sink in that sickening hook. Brischetto was counted out while still on his knees, grimacing and gasping.

Both this fight and the Cocco fight were held at the PalaMalè in Viterbo, an arena named after Luigi Malè, an Italian lightweight champion who boxed a twelve-round draw with the great Duilio Loi. Viterbo has become an adopted home for the Neapolitan Di Luisa; he lives and works at the big army base in this town one hour north of Rome. His fights here are fast becoming must-see events in Italian boxing. The combination of an aggressive power-puncher and a provincial arena packed with Di Luisa’s noisy uniformed colleagues makes them exciting and memorable occasions.

It’s hard to come up with many names on the Italian scene who could pose a threat to Di Luisa. Massimiliano Buccheri, an awkward and often ugly fighter, could maybe make the champion look bad at times but I doubt he would have much chance of winning. Two very interesting fights would be against his old amateur rivals, Ali Ndaiye and Domenico Spada. The enigmatic, sometimes frustrating but very talented Ndaiye stopped Di Luisa in the final of the national amateur championships in 2004. Spada lost to Di Luisa in the finals in 2001, a decision he contested bitterly. That fight could be a big draw and certainly interesting but unlikely for two reasons: Spada would undoubtedly see it as a step down and he has recently resolved the metabolism problem which was making it difficult for him to make middleweight. Lorenzo Di Giacomo and Giovanni De Carolis are two other viable foes. The fight I would like to see: Andrea Di Luisa-James Degale.

The best fight on the undercard was the six-rounder between light middles Giammario Grassellini and Luca Pasqua. The judges gave it to Grassellini by majority decision (58-56, 58-56 and 57-57) but to me it seemed clearer than that. I could only give one round – the last – to Pasqua. Pasqua was the aggressor for almost all of the fight, looking to bundle his opponent to the ropes and smother him with waves of short hooks, yet he rarely landed cleanly or consistently and he was largely outmanoeuvred by the counterpunching Grassellini. It was the latter who landed the more eye-catching punches, countering almost every time that Pasqua shaped to throw. It was a problem Pasqua was unable to solve. Not once did he try to feint his man and draw the lead.

Grassellini is probably best known for splitting a couple of fights with Steven Haughian and taking a young Daniele Petrucci to a split decision. At 33, he’s now someway past that peak but this fight meant a lot to him – he hadn’t fought in 18 months and was coming off three straight losses. At the final bell he screamed, “I’m back!” He is now 18-4-2 (10) while Pasqua drops to 15-4-0 (10).

The other fight of the night was a sad affair. Walter Fiorucci is considered to be one of promoter Rosanna Conti Cavini’s hopes for the future. That’s no excuse for giving him such easy pickings. He faced Sicilian debutant Rosario Trovato, who left the amateurs with a modest record of 11-11-14 (yes, there are a lot of draws in Italian amateur boxing at regional level). Fiorucci took just 1 minute and 21 seconds to dispose of him, knocking him down with a left hook and then making him turn away from the action. The referee had no choice but to jump in. Light middle Fiorucci is now 3-0-0 (3). He did look spiteful and precise, but against a hapless and wincing foe. He will need better opponents than this if he is going to learn anything in the ring.

October 16, 2010

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