Thanks to the country’s relative success on the amateur circuit and with recent investment by promotional titans Matchroom, Italy is slowly becoming a feature on the boxing map. Below is a brief shortlist of some of the names names who may soon establish themselves on the world scene, if they haven’t already done so.
Certainly one of the most exciting Italian prospects. The son of former boxer Leonardo Turchi, Fabio was a good amateur, winning 108 and losing only 7 of his 115 fights, taking bronze medals at the youth world championships and a silver at the youth Olympics in 2010. As a pro, he matched his father’s achievements by becoming an Italian champion in 2016, then bettered them 8 months later by becoming WBC International Silver champion.
Tuchi has made several successful defences of that belt, most noticeably against Tony Conquest in his first appearance on a televised Matchroom show, then won the full title in his next fight by stopping Sami Enbom in the first round.
A July contest with Tommy McCarthy was scrapped after Turchi suffered an arm injury, but there are big fights out there for Florentine; his title and amateur pedigree give him a Top 15 ranking with the WBC, where Andrew Tabiti (at 10) and Lawrence Okolie (at 12), both with Matchroom, also feature. If he reschedules a date with McCarthy and beats him, a fight with one of those two should be very easy to make. If he wins that, a world title fight won’t be far away.
Alessandro Riguccini – Welterweight
A former kickboxer, the hard punching Tuscan is close to announcing himself to a stacked division. He hasn’t heard the final bell since 2013, and hasn’t gone beyond the 4th round since returning to the ring in 2016 after a 3-year layoff, during which he earned a degree in computer engineering, and won the K1 world title.
Ivan Alvarez, who has only lost to respectable opposition, was the most recent fighter to be stopped by Riguccini’s heavy hands, in what was the fifth 1st round stoppage in the Italian’s last 11 contests. Before that, Andres Villaman was handed his first professional defeat in Mexico – he lasted until the third.
Riguccini has appeared on televised cards in Italy and the UK/US. He will want to make the most of that exposure; he is 31 years old and in his athletic prime. The WBC Silver welterweight title in his possession will have at least put him on the radar of the other champions, and may entice a fellow contender to try and take it from him. A win against such opposition would force the best to take him seriously, and may result in a title shot further down the line. One to watch in 2020.
Davide Faraci – Light heavyweight
Faraci holds a dual-nationality, having been born to an Italian family in Switzerland. He competed as an amateur for the latter, and won several Swiss national titles at lightweight, welterweight and middleweight. He won a bronze at the 2016 European championships and amassed over 150 fights, which shortlisted him for Olympic qualification until he was beaten by Arslanbek Achilow in Baku.
That experience has translated well into the professional ranks. He is thus far undefeated, and took an overdue step up in his last contest to stop Nicola Ciriani in the seventh round to win the Italian light heavyweight title in June (once held by Fabio Turchi’s father). Expect a couple of defences of his new belt before he steps up again, but when he does, it will be under the lights for an outside ranking on one of the governing bodies’ Top 15, in around 12 months from now.
Michael Magnesi – Super-featherweight
A 24-year-old who is also looking to earn a Top 15 ranking in the future. He owns the WBC International Silver title and beat two men who competed for the full version in his last two fights. A good amateur who fought for Italy in the World Series of Boxing, he has made decent progress as a pro, debuting in 2015. He won the national title in his 12th fight, and the IBF Mediterranean belt in his 14th. In his 15th and most recent bout, Emanuel Lopez, who has competed for various WBC, WBA and IBO trinkets, was stopped in 10 sessions for the title Magnesi currently holds.
As things stand, it’s hard to see him compete with the division’s best. The world champions all have too much in their respective lockers, and the contenders below them would give the Italian a serious examination. Time will give us an indication as to whether he passes such tests; for now, Magnesi needs to tick over in Italy, improve on his experience and get some momentum behind him. Check back on him this time next year.
Giovanni De Carolis – Super-middleweight
He is known more for his defeats than his victories, but the good far outweighs the bad on his 28-9-1 record. His time as WBA ‘regular’ world champion was preceded by stints as International and Inter-continental champion for various governing bodies, making him the most accomplished fighter on this list in terms of accolades. He currently holds the WBC International title, and another defence will be enough to at least shortlist him for a world title eliminator.
Former world champion Arthur Abraham, two-time world title challenger Max Bursak, former European champion Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye, WBA #14 Bilal Akkawy and Vincent Feigenbutz, who is ranked with all the governing bodies, are just a few of the names that De Carolis has faced during his career, and he’s beaten some of them too. At 35 years old he is coming to the end of his fighting days, but he is the country’s highest achieving active fighter by some distance. If there is any Italian who deserves a high-profile swansong, it’s him.
Luca Rigoldi – Super-bantamweight
The hard-working 26 year old will be knocking on the door of big fights very soon. He won the European title in 2017, and in doing so avenged his only professional defeat (to Vittorio Parrinello, who beat him on points for the Italian title a year earlier). He has kept the title ever since, recording four successful defences against solid European level opposition and earning a #14 ranking with the IBF in the process.
His fifth defence, booked for the 20th September, will be against WBA Continental boss Oleksandr Yegorov. If he wins this, he will advance a few places up the IBF ranks and strengthen his case for a shot at a world title eliminator. Rigoldi likes to keep busy, often fighting every three to four months. We may set see a step up in class from him before 2019 is over.
Next Big Italian Fight Night
Two IBF International titles are on the line in Florence on September 19th. Orlando Fiordigiglio, a fighter who would not look out of place on this list, takes on Sam Eggington in what is a must-win for both at super-welterweight. At super-featherweight, Devis Boschiero (another short-listed fighter) looks to stay young with a win against undefeated Spaniard Ivan Tomas.