article by Nicola Pucci

Like any good self-respecting boxing career, to reach the top of the world it is necessary to start from the bottom. And that’s what happens to Gianfranco RosiUmbrian from Assisi born in 1957, who to rise to the top of his category, super lightweight, welterweight or super welterweight depending on weight, he designs a competitive path in which, truly, nothing was missed.

In 1976In fact, this boxer is gifted with supreme class and audacity, already becomes Italian super lightweight champion (up to 63.5 kg.) among amateursbeating Francesco Marcello in Turin, and then the following year he repeated the title among the welterweights (up to 67 kg.). And with this business card, enters forcefully among the professionalsobtaining his first victory in his native Perugia, on 10 September 1979, beating Francesco Sanna on points.

Rosi grows gradually, obtaining his first Italian title among the “greats” in 1982 when, again in Perugia and always among the welterweights, he beat Giuseppe Di Padova by knockout in the seventh roundthen confirming the belt against Antonio Torsello, the Brazilian naturalized Italian Everaldo Costa Azevedo, Pierangelo Pira and Francesco Gallo, and then have the opportunity to fight for the vacant European title on 7 July 1984 against the Spaniard Perico Fernandez.

The challenge with the Iberian, already super lightweight world champion, is once again held in Perugia and results in a victory on pointswhich certifies Rosi’s skill in big events, before stumble upon a first defeat when on January 5, 1985al PSports hall of the Umbrian capital, he is defeated by the formidable British Lloyd Honeyghan, who knocks him out in the third round and will dominate the category in the future. And if Gianfranco, having reached a crossroads in his career, “leave or move to super welterweight“, he still has the strength to confirming himself as the strongest welterweight in his homeland by knocking out Gaetano CasoAnd time to move up in weight and enter the super welterweight category (up to 70 kg), a weight category that will take him to the top of the world.

The year of grace for the boy from Assisi was 1987started winning the European title on points in Perugia against the Englishman Chris Pyatt on January 28ththen continued with the defense of the belt against the Spaniard Emilio Sole (ko in the second round in Lucca on 6 May) and the French Marc Ruocco (disqualified in the fifth round on 27 June at Palais des Festivals of Cannes). And on October 2finally, in front of the public friend of the Sports Hall of Perugia, Rosi seals his dream of fighting with the possibility of becoming super welterweight world champion.

Four boxers before him have already boasted that title, and the opportunity to join Sandro Mazzinghi, Nino Benvenuti, Carmelo Bossi and Rocky Mattioli is tempting, the extra fuel that pushes Rosi towards the accomplishment of a feat sporty. The manager Silverio Gresta and the sponsor Alvaro Chiabolotti accept the invitation of Rodolfo Sabbatini, impeccable promoter of the match, to meet the Mexican Lupe Aquino, who took the title from Duane Thomas. And on October 2nd, the two contenders enter the ring for a challenge destined to remain in the annals of Italian boxing.

Effectively, Rosi dominates the fightrevealing itself to be superior both on a technical level and in terms of dynamism. Only between the seventh and ninth rounds did the Umbrian boxer experience a moment of difficulty, achieved by two breathtaking body shots. Aquino seems to be able to subvert the inertia of a match that up to that moment was firmly… in the hands of Rosi, but devoid of tactical variations, instead favoring the timing of the challenger, he does not take advantage of the moment, indeed suffering Rosi’s suffocating pace in the last three rounds.

The judges’ card assigns Rosi a score without appeal, Steve Smoger 115-114, Larry O’Connell 118-113 and Adrian Morgan 115-114, and Gianfranco, boxing hero of an entire nation, climbs to the top of the world.

It will be the first but certainly not the last time, because when he hangs up his gloves Rosi will deserve the record of world cups played for Italy, 18… and then be patient, one of these days we will talk about his exploits in the ring again.

2024-05-20 10:00:00


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