Middleweight Marcus Morrison scored a come from behind, one punch ninth round knockout over Emanuele Blandamura on Thursday night at Nicola Pietrangeli Stadium in Rome, Italy. It was a fight that left plenty open to interpretation depending on one’s perspective as to who may have been getting the better of the action throughout the fight.
Morrison was able to find a home for his right hand throughout the fight as he frequently landed overhead rights to the head of Blandamura. Blandamura found his own success when he was able to make Morrison miss and counter with his own offense. As the fight progressed, it seemed Blandamura was starting to pull ahead in the fight when Morrison dropped Blandamura suddenly with a flush right hand to the head in round nine. Blandamura gamely tried to get to his feet, but was unable to continue and the fight was stopped at 2:44 of the round. Marcus Morrison advances to 21-3, with 15 Knockouts. Emanuele Blandamura falls to 29-4, with 5 Knockouts.
In a battle for the vacant European Light-Heavyweight championship, a toe to to war between Serhiy Demchenko and Hakim Zoulikha took place. A battle where both men had their share of moments was nearly halted when Demchenko landed a flush overhead right to the head of Zoulikha that sent him down hard on the canvas. Despite this, Zoulikha was able to survive and the fight continued. In round seven a barrage of punches that began with a right hand by Demchenko staggered Zoulikha again forcing Referee John Latham to stop the fight at 1:27 of the round. Serhiy Demchenko advances to 22-14-1, with 15 Knockouts. Hakim Zoulikha falls to 26-11, with 11 Knockouts.
In the Cruiserweight division, Tommy McCarthy scored an impressive third round stoppage of Francesco Cataldo. McCarthy dropped Cataldo with a right, left combination to the head early in round two. McCarthy followed that with a combination that sent Cataldo down for a second time. Although Cataldo managed to stagger to his feet and even showed his frustration by kicking the corner pad in his corner at the conclusion of the round, his corner would not allow him to continue at the start of round three. Official time of the stoppage was :01 of round three. Tommy McCarthy advances to 15-2, with 8 Knockouts. Francesco Cataldo falls to 7-6, with 2 Knockouts.
Light-Heavyweight Valentino Manfredonia successfully made his professional debut with a four round unanimous decision over Sokol Arsic. This was w case of a fighter in Manfredonia using his first professional fight as a learning experience to get used to the professional side pf the sport as he outworked Arsic to earn the decision victory. Valentino Manfredonia advances to 1-0, with 0 Knockouts. Sokol Arsic falls to 1-3-2, with 0 Knockouts.
In the Lightweight division, former European Lightweight champion Emiliano Marsili scored an underwhelming six round unanimous decision over journeyman Brayan Mairena. At times this fight frankly resembled a sparring session with the unbeaten Marsili putting on a display of effective lateral movement and crisp punches that kept Mairena on the defensive and unable to land cleanly with the majority of his punches. Emiliano Marsili advances to 38-0-1, with 15 Knockouts. Brayan Mairena falls to 10-12-1, with 4 Knockouts.
Undefeated Jr. Middleweight Mirko Natalizi battered a very determined Antonio Gomez over six rounds to earn a unanimous decision. The fight generally consisted of Natalizi throwing wide hooks with both hands and landing on Gomez. Although Gomez would periodically catch Natalizi with a counter hook as he came forward, he was unable to land something significant to turn the ebb and flow in his favor. Mirko Natalizi advances to 6-0, with 3 Knockouts. Antonio Gomez falls to 4-4-2, with 2 Knockouts.
Also in the Jr. Middleweight division, undefeated prospect Vincenzo Bevilacqua scored a workmanlike six round unanimous decision over a “Game “ Novak Radulovic. Bevilacqua consistently forced the action throughout throwing combinations and pushing Radulovic back. Vincenzo Bevilacqua advances to 16-0, with 0 Knockouts. Novak Radulovic falls to 9-4-1, with 4 Knockouts.
As with several previous cards promoted by Matchroom Boxing’s Italian promotional branch, this card featured a look at the ever growing Matchroom stable, not just in terms of fighters fighting out of Italy, but on a global scale. For Matchroom Boxing Italy, this card did mark the first time that they have staged a card in a stadium setting. Something that should be viewed as both a sign of the branch’s success thus far, but more importantly the overall growth of Matchroom Boxing globally. While it is not common to talk about the promoter of a card after an event like this in closing, if Matchroom can continue putting on events like this, wherever they choose to promote and remain committed to developing their stable, which is the lifeblood of any successful promotional entity and by extension the sport itself, not only will the fighters benefit, but so too will the Boxing fans.
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