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15 NOVEMBER 2018


Italian News: Sarritzu And Boschiero Fight For World Glory

By Peter Lerner: After a quiet September, the next month or so is a big one for Italian boxing. Two Italians are due to fight for world titles (Andrea Sarritzu against Moruti Mthalane, and Devis Boschiero against Takahiro Ao), Leonard Bundu and Daniele Petrucci are due to have their rematch for the European welterweight title, veteran Giuseppe Laganà gets a shot at the EU flyweight title and everybody is hoping a deal will be made to put on the bitter grudge match between Andrea Di Luisa and Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye. On top of that, the Italian team is doing very well at the World Amateur Championships in Baku.

Everything really kicks off this week with the medal stages of the Worlds, Laganà’s fight and two bills on successive nights in the seaside town of Ostia, just outside Rome.

So far in Baku the Italians have three fighters who, in reaching the quarter final stage, have qualified for the Olympics in London next year. Vincenzo Picardi, who won bronze in Peking, beat Dagoberto Aguero 18-12 at 52 kgs to book his spot. Domenico Valentino, reigning world champion and European silver medallist at 60kg secured his place by outpointing Branimir Stankovic 26-23. Those two big guns of the Italian team are joined in the quarters (and London) by relative newcomer Vincenzo Mangiacapre.

Coming off the same Marcianise conveyor belt as Valentino and Clemente Russo (already qualified for London thanks to his World Series triumph), Mangiacapre (which means ’goat-eater’ in English) has matured over the last two years from a flighty, unorthodox fighter who didn’t necessarily score much to an elusive and precise counterpuncher. His bronze at the Europeans was a pleasant surprise and now he’s confirming that it was no one-off. In Baku he beat Zdenek Chladek 16-9. Now he faces a more difficult task today against the Mongolian Munkh Erdene Uranchimeg. Up at super heavy Roberto Cammarelle will be looking to bag his place in London by beating England’s Anthony Joshua. Cammarelle is already in the quarters but at super heavy only a semifinal place ensures Olympic qualification.


Over in the pro ranks, the biggest fight this week sees Giuseppe Laganà challenge for the aforementioned EU title in Sardinia on Friday. He celebrates his fortieth birthday a week after the fight so, along with the likes of Giacobbe Fragomeni and Silvio Branco, he is one of those grand old men which Italian boxing seems to specialise in. Since his debut in 1997 he has built a 24-9-1 (9) record that has seen him win and lose various intercontinental title fights without really ever reaching world or top European level. His best win saw him get a contentious split decision eight years ago over Luis Lazarte, that seemingly immortal Argentine who recently had those two fouled-filled fights with Ulises Solis. The Italian is up it against it on Friday. Apart from the fact that he has had only one fight in the last three years (which begs the question of how, even in the sparsely populated flyweight division, he could qualify for an EU title shot), he will be facing a quality fighter in Bernard Inom. The Frenchman is no spring chicken himself at 38 but he’s been more active and has fought - and won - at a much higher level. He lasted into the eleventh with Omar Narvaez (the fine two-weight world champion who has held a world title since 2002, a boxer who has been criminally ignored and underrated by the boxing press), and he also drew with and then stopped world class Andrea Sarritzu.


In Ostia on the same night there is an interesting Roman derby between two undefeated boxers: Emanuele ’Sioux’ Blandamura and Manuel ’The Diamond’ Ernesti. The winner will probably get a shot at Italian middleweight champion Matteo Signani. Blandamura, 15-0-0 (3), seems to have progressed since joining the booming ProFighting gym in Rome. Under the tutelage of Eugenio Agnuzzi and in the company of fighters such as Domenico Spada, Pasquale Di Silvio, Emanuele Della Rosa and Davide Dieli, he has added a certain amount of composure and know-how to his already impressive speed of hand and foot. What he still lacks is a real attacking instinct and bite on his punches. For all his evasive abilities he still appears hesitant when attacking.

Ernesti is one of the more exciting prospects in Italian boxing at the moment. As an amateur he was one of the top five at his weight in the country and was the last fighter to beat Nathan Cleverly (though Cleverly was suffering from tonsilitis at the time). Upon turning pro, his promoter Davide Buccioni explained that the nickname of ’The Diamond’ was because Ernesti was ’rare, beautiful and indestructible.’ Despite being 10-0-0 (5) he hasn’t yet lived up to that promise. On paper he certainly doesn’t lack any qualities: equally comfortable as southpaw or orthodox, fast-handed, spiteful and tall for the weight. However, there is the lingering impression that he’s not putting it all together or learning how to pace and control a fight. Maybe it is still too early to tell. Friday night should give us a better idea.


The same venue hosts another bill the night before, headlined by Pasquale Di Silvio against Johnny Antequera (though the fight poster bills him as ‘Jhonny’) in a light welterweight eight-rounder. For Di Silvio this will be a return to the Palafijikam where almost three years ago he beat a lively Nicaraguan named Carlos Velasquez. At the time, ‘El Puma’ Di Silvio was on the crest of a wave having stopped Ivan Fiorletta for the Italian interim lightweight title (later upgraded to the full title) that summer. He was unbeaten in eight fights and was starting to establish himself as a genuine headliner in Rome. There was a buzz about this quick-fisted fighter and he was exciting to watch – sometimes he just couldn’t help but listen to the crowd and fire off six or seven punch volleys when perhaps it wasn’t really prudent to do so. But it never got better than that. The wheels came off with a third round stoppage at the hands of Simone ‘Chico’ Califano, and his Italian title was as gone almost as soon as he’d won it. His comeback fight saw him floored heavily by a two-fight Croatian and subsequent attempts to regain his old title – against Luca Marasco and then Emiliano Marsili – were valiant but unsuccessful. Somewhere along the way his spark and confidence seem to have been dimmed. The fight against Antequera marks a long-awaited step up to light welter and with it the hope that he will be fresher at the higher weight. Antequera has mixed in decent company, losing twelve rounders to Benoit Gaudet and Daniel Rasilla (who lost to Paul McCloskey a couple of years ago) and – the result that really stands out – taking a young Miguel Acosta the ten round distance. Footage of his most recent fight – a six-round points defeat against Krzysztof Cieslak in Warsaw – shows him to be a relaxed fighter with a good assortment of punches, including a fairly straight right hand which could cause problems for Di Silvio with his low left hand. However, the nine stoppages on his 11-8-0 probably flatter him considering that only one of those victims had a winning record, and the fact that since 2004 he has fought only a once or twice a year (and then often only once every two years) indicates that he is probably not all that ambitious at this stage of his career.

The undercard features Emiliano Salvini, perhaps remembered by some in Britain and Ireland for points losses to Craig Lyon and Willie Casey. His last six fights (all losses) have all been on enemy turf and against decent opposition so it could be said that he deserves an easier fight.However, Jose Luis Graterol, his opponent on Thursday, has not fought since May 2006! The Venezuelan has mixed with some decent fighters (a prime Lorenzo Parra, to whom he lost in two rounds, being the most noteworthy) but the inactivity and climb in weight (from super flyweight to featherweight) should be too much for him to overcome in Salvini’s backyard.

October 5,2011

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