By Marco Bratusch at ringside
European junior featherweight champion Luca Rigoldi retained his belt yesterday night in Brescia, northern Italy, where he voluntarily defended the continental title against Frenchman Anthony Settoul, headlining a Boxe Loreni card at local Palasport San Filippo. RAI Italian television broadcasted the event live in Italy.
It was the first defense for Rigoldi (20-1-1, 8 KOs), who took a firm and steady control of the bout early, applying pressure and letting his hands go from his southpaw stance. The Italian fighter outworked his foe throughout the twelve rounds. However, the experienced Settoul (24-8, 9 KOs) realized he could deal with Rigoldi’s busy hands soon and occasionally gave something back with his straight right – it was too little to win rounds, though. Neither men possessing notable power, the bout went the full distance with wide and accurate scorecards in favor of Rigoldi, 120-108 twice and 119-109. The champion targeted Settoul’s body often with his left hook, but the challenger was smart bending forward with his body and using his right elbow to protect the liver area. In one of these Rigoldi’s attacks to the body the local favorite put Settoul momentarily down on his knee but referee Daniel Van de Wiele correctly called it a slip because of the wet canvas around in the red corner where such action was taking place. Rigoldi’s best moments occurred when he was able to force Settoul back to the ropes to unload long combinations up and down, which happened pretty frequently during the bout, but despite the many punches taken the challenger never lost his composure significantly. The champion’s action was steady and concrete like when he won the vacant belt in France against Jeremy Parodi last November, and his pace never slew down from round one until the twelfth, confirming a remarkable stamina. The bout was very fair between the two men, either during and after the bout, when Settoul gave his praise to the confirmed champion.
In an awaited rematch of 2017, slick counter-puncher Alessio Lorusso (6-4-2, 4 KOs), aged 23, scored a seventh-round TKO against busy pressure-fighter Christopher Mondongo (5-2, 2 KOs). The bout was a classic clash of styles and came up as a tasty show for the crowd, with Lorusso’s quick hands, reflexes and height allowing him to control both the distance and the tempo, making Mondongo miss frequently and then making him pay at times with hooks and uppercuts before moving away. Mondongo’s heart let him in the game as he was able to land some hooks at close range, but Lorusso’s confidence and better school was too much for him, as he also decked Mondongo in round four with a sudden straight counter. In round seven, a left hook from Lorusso rocked Mondongo again and he also looked to lost control of a leg, forcing the referee to halt the fight. With this result, Lorusso won the WBC-FPI tournament in the featherweight division, stamping his ticket for a national title shot somewhere in the future.
In some of the preliminary bouts, 2009 amateur world champion Domenico Valentino (7-0, 1 KO) outclassed Nicaragua’s German Lara (12-8-2, 2 KOs) over six rounds. The bout turned into a snoozer soon as Valentino was too crafty for his swinging and missing left-handed opponent, and controlled the action without forcing the fight. Valentino will now be facing Albert Ciprian in June to defend his national 135-lbs title.
Physically strong fighters Davide Festosi (13-0, 7 KOs) and Dionise Tiganas (8-8-2, 2 KOs) battled hard for six rounds, trading big shots at mid-range, with the first man eventually banking a close and tough decision. It looked like Festosi was initially confident to have a pretty easy day at the office, but Tiganas, who was coming from another daring performance against Mauro Forte, confirmed to be a tough cookie and convinced Festosi to box more carefully and giving his best.
Former Italian featherweight champion Francesco Grandelli (11-1-1, 2 KOs) escaped some early scares in the first rounds getting better during the fight and eventually punishing Venezuela’s cocky puncher Wallington Orobio (19-6, 16 KOs), who after some early successes struggled to finish the bout on his feet. Grandelli, a southpaw boxer, was able to read his opponent better through the bout, with the hard-hitting Orobio becoming progressively less dangerous, falling short on his stamina.
Interesting prospect Etinosa Oliha (7-0, 3 KOs), aged 20, confirmed to have decent power and a sheer puncher attitude looking for the definitive shot all night, landing significant blows against Petru Chiochiu (5-2, 2 KOs) who, however, was able to absorb them with no big issues. Oliha, a middleweight, looks to have considerable physical skills but he really has to study the boxing book carefully and listening to his corner to grow up as a more complete fighter for the years to come. He has time to do it properly, of course.
Middleweight fighter Rafaello Sheshi (7-0-1, 4 KOs) outpowered the taller Francesco Alberti (5-5, 1 KO), who was stiff on his torso and apparently a bit scared but was also able to deal with Sheshi’s hard shots and giving something back sporadically from his soul to survive. Sheshi won a clear decision over six rounds but maybe needs to work on his punch and pace variety to make himself a less predictable boxer.