Milan show marks milestone for OPI and Matchroom

Luca Rosi
23/10/2019 7:50pm

Christian Cherchi looks ahead to OPI Since 82 and Matchroom Boxing Italy's latest show this Friday in Milan, as the two promotional outfits mark one year since they joined forces...

Only two weeks after Trento, the OPI Since 82 and Matchroom Boxing Italy roadshow returns to the Allianz Cloud (formerly the PalaLido) in Milan for another night of action-packed boxing on Friday.

Boxing Monthly caught up with Christian Cherchi to talk about an exciting third card in Milan, with local boy and fan favourite Daniele Scardina once again the headline act...

“It’s a significant milestone for us and for Italian boxing, since we joined forces with Matchroom and DAZN back in 2018. Incredibly we’re on to the eighth show [three each in Florence and Milan, one apiece for Rome and Trento], which marks the end of a super successful first year that has brought thrills and spills galore. We intend to continue working hard to revitalise boxing in Italy, so expect plenty more fireworks in year two.

Milan mania
“This is another step up for Daniele Scardina, who will be defending his IBF international super middle title for the second time against Ilias Achergui. Belgian champion at both super middle and light heavy, he’s a solid pro. They have both beaten Henri Kekalainen, with Scardina winning by UD as compared with an MD win for Achergui. So, if you’re going on that, Scardina has the edge but as we know anything can happen, so it’ll be a tough test.

"The atmosphere will be electric as the fans will turn out in numbers to see local boy Scardina, who is very popular. There will be lots of TV stars, footballers and rappers in the house!

“Francesco Patera vs Domenico Valentino is a fascinating match-up, which has generated a lot of interest in Italy. Patera rightly starts as favourite due to his greater experience in the pro ranks, and as British fans know, he’s on a real roll at the moment following impressive wins against Lewis Ritson and Paul Hyland Jr. That said, Valentino is a very savvy operator, the current Italian champion and one of Italy’s most decorated amateurs with 300 odd fights to his name – he’s a three-time Olympian who won the worlds back in 2009 right here in Milan [Valentino had lost in the final two years previously against Frankie Gavin in Chicago].

"Although he only has eight pro fights, he’s had over 20 WSB contests, and has fought Lomachenko twice. He’s known about this fight since August, so he’s very motivated and will be extremely well prepared to do battle against one of the best European champions.

“Maxim Prodan is up against a strong opponent in Welshman, Tony Dixon, who will bring it, so the two styles should gel nicely. He only has two reverses, one of which a UD points loss against Ted Cheeseman. Prodan is unbeaten and improving all the time. This should be a good welterweight contest.

"Chief support on the undercard is Ivan Zucco, who is a talented young super middleweight. He’s facing Milan based Moldovan Vadim Gurau, who boasts a win over Alessandro Goddi. We hope to get Zucco a title fight in 2020. Unfortunately, Luca Capuano and Riccardo Merafina both had to pull out but Nicholas Esposito, who has lots of support, will be going for win number 11. The unbeaten Nmomah twins, Samuel and Joshua will also both be fighting in Milan as part of their learning curve.

A first for Trento
“It was the first time that the city of Trento held a professional boxing event, so it was great to be part of the Gazzetta Festival Dello Sport event. We had a good turnout, Roberto Duran was ringside and the fans were entertained yet again.

“Franceso Grandelli performed superbly against Reece Bellotti and there was a fairytale ending for Matteo Signani, who finally won the European middleweight title, and showed that he has the conditioning at 40 to still mix it at these levels. Although Fabio Turchi lost, the fight was very close and it could have gone either way.

"Turchi showed great heart and courage to fight on with a closed eye, which was caused by a headbutt. But let’s not take anything away from Tommy McCarthy. Although hugely disappointed to lose his first fight, Turchi can draw a lot of positives from this and rest assured he will work on his mistakes and come back stronger.

"Mirko Natalizi is a work in a progress, but as you saw with his last round KO, the potential is there. Valentino Manfredonia has to transition better to the pro game albeit it was only his second fight while you could tell that there was a bit of ring rustiness for Samuel Gonzalez. But both still came through victorious.”

All the action in Milan will be live on DAZN