'The fans should be in for a treat': Christian Cherchi interview
Following on from dates in Florence and Milan, the OPI/ Matchroom roadshow moves to Rome tomorrow. Boxing Monthly caught up with OPI Since 82’s Christian Cherchi to bring you all the latest news about the card...
BM: Can you give us a quick recap about the show in Florence (Tuscany Hall, 26 April)?
CC: All in all it was another successful show, a great turnout and lots of support as usual for hometown favourite, Fabio Turchi. We were a little disappointed with the fight [first round KO against Sami Enbom of Finland] but his original French opponent [Jean Jacques Olivier] pulled out late in the day, so we were up against it to find a replacement. As I had mentioned last time, Orlando Fiordigiglio was always going to be in a tough fight against Stephen Danyo and so it proved, but he got the nod [SD win for the vacant international IBF super welterweight title] and continues to move up the rankings [Fiordigiglio is now at 5 with the IBF]. He’s in a great position and the same goes for Mohammed Obbadi who had a first-round KO win [the Moroccan-based Italian is also ranked 5 with the IBF]. He has a bright future and will fight for a title in September/October time.
BM: Your fifth show with Matchroom is at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli in Rome on 11 July (where the Rome Masters tennis tournament is played) just 13 days after Milan! A quick turnaround…tell us how it came about.
CC: It was a case of the venue being available on that date. The Foro Italico is a spectacular location so we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to host a show there. It’s a first for OPI at this historic venue, so another special day for us. The fans should be in for a treat too, and there’s a real Italy-England flavour too, just like our inaugural Florence show. All the headline fights are evenly matched: we have former European champion and world title challenger, Emanuele Blandamura taking on Manchester’s Marcus Morrison for the WBC international silver middleweight title in front of his home fans; Fabio Turchi will have his stiffest test to date against Northern Ireland’s Tommy McCarthy in his first defence of the WBC international cruiserweight title [Stop press: Due to an injury to Turchi, McCarthy will now face Francesco Cataldo] and Serhiy Demchenko, a long time Rome-based Ukrainian, is up against France’s Hakim Zoulikha for the European light heavyweight title. We also have a number of local youngsters: unbeaten light middleweight Mirko Natalizi who’s been on all our shows to date, and making their first OPI/Matchroom appearances are light welter Sebastian Mendizabal, light middle Vincenzo Bevilacqua and cruiserweight Simone Federici. Rio 2016 Olympian light heavyweight, Valentino Manfredonia will be making his pro debut and for unbeaten lightweight Emiliano Marsili,the show just keeps rolling on at 42.
The Rome show will be screened live on DAZN Italia and Sky Sports in the UK.