'One of our best shows to date': Christian Cherchi interview
Christian Cherchi from Italian promoters OPI Since 82 talks to BM about his latest shows in partnership with Matchroom, one of which will see Orlando Fiordigiglio headline against Sam Eggington...
After Milan and Rome, it’s back to Florence (for the third time) on 19 September and then to the north-eastern city of Trento for the Boxing Night DAZN Festival on 11 October. And, once again, there’s lots for British fight fans to get excited about!
Christian Cherchi spoke to Boxing Monthly about shows number six and seven of OPI Since 82’s partnership with Matchroom Boxing Italy. Top title fights with more Italy-England rivalries, and fans being able to watch the boxing in Trento for free. And with Roberto Duran and Julio Cesar Chavez as special guests, it really doesn’t get any better.
“It’s incredible to think that we held our first show in Florence on 30 November, and in a few days, we’ll be returning to the same venue for our sixth event,” says Cherchi. “Rome at the Foro Italico in July was a rip-roaring success. Michael Buffer MC-ing for the first time in Italy was unique in itself but the fans were treated to two humdingers courtesy of Emanuele Blandamura-Marcus Morrison and Serhiy Demchenko-Hakim Zoulikha – two ‘on the edge of your seats’ fights.
Tuscany Hall, Florence, September 19 – live on DAZN
“This should be one of our best shows to date. Orlando Fiordigiglio vs. Sam Eggington for the IBF International super-welterweight title should be a cracking fight. I firmly believe that Eggington is still a top level fighter. Let’s not forget that he was narrowly beaten for the European welterweight title and there’s no shame in losing to Liam Smith, who is a world-class fighter.
"Fiordigiglio has had two previous shots at the European title, and at 35, he can’t afford to slip up. Devis ‘Boom Boom’ Boschiero is still defying the years at 38, he’s always in prime condition physically and is able to sustain a fast tempo. He’s still looking for a world title opportunity, so there’s a lot on the line in this one. His opponent, Spain’s Ivan Tomas, is unbeaten in 10 and recently fought for the Spanish title [a majority draw] against a guy who had fought for the European title [Frank Urquiaga who lost to Edis Tatli]. On paper, this would seem to be the ‘easiest’ of the three fights for our boxers but Tomas feels that he can pull off the upset.
"Then we have Dario Morello who is taking on Bracknell’s Luther Clay. This is a very interesting fight, for Morello it’s a step up since his lacklustre performance in Milan and he’s up against a fighter who has one defeat on his record and is full of confidence.
"Carmine Tommasone makes his return after his WBO world featherweight title challenge against Oscar Valdez back in February, super feather Nicola Henchiri fights Andrea Sito, who trains at our OPI Gym in Milan and light welter Sebastian Mendizabal will have his third pro fight. Mohammed Obbadi, who is the mandatory challenger for the European flyweight title, will face journeyman Cristian Narvaez, who fought Jamie McDonnell in Milan last June. The Nicaraguan is a tough journeyman though and is fighting at his natural weight, so it will be a good test for Obbadi ahead of his European title crack. Chatteris featherweight Jordan Gill will also be back in action after his sole defeat.”
PalaTrento, Trento, October 11 – live on DAZN
“Since 2018, Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport has organised an annual Sports Festival in Trento where fans can meet their sporting heros and heroines, all for free! We’re delighted to be part of the event in 2019 and thanks to the WBC, two legends of the sport – Roberto Duran and Julio Cesar Chavez – will also be attending.
"We have another stacked card with Fabio Turchi headlining and defending his WBC international cruiserweight title against Tommy McCarthy. Turchi had to pull out through injury last time, but there’s no doubting that this is a step up for him and his biggest test since Tony Conquest back in November. McCarthy is full of confidence, especially as he’s already fought and won in Rome on our last show. Should be a tremendous fight.
"The ‘Jaguar’, Matteo Signani is challenging for the European middleweight crown against the undefeated champion from Poland, Kamil Szeremeta. It’s going to be a hard fight this for the 40-year-old Signani, who lost a very close split decision against Blandamura for the same title back in 2016.
"Then we have another Italy-England face off with Italian champion Francesco Grandelli taking on Watford’s Reece Bellotti for the WBC international silver featherweight title in what again has the makings of a very entertaining contest. Light middle, Mirko Natalizi, who has been a regular on our shows will be having his seventh professional contest and light heavy Valentino Manfredonia will be fighting again after his Rome debut. Samuel Gonzalez, a Venezuelan light welter, who is based at the OPI Gym in Milan, is also on the bill.
"I cannot emphasise how important being part of the Gazzetta dello Sport’s Trento Festival of Sport and as always working with our broadcasting partner DAZN is in raising the profile of boxing in Italy.”
The Florence show will be televised tomorrow from 20.00 on Sky Sports Action
More announcements of future OPI-Matchroom shows coming soon to the BM website!