Matchroom’s Italian arm is in operation this Thursday night in Milan, as a decent looking card is held at Allianz Cloud.
British interest at the top of the card comes in the form of Birmingham’s Gamal Yafai (17-1, KO10) and the 29-year-old challenges for the European Super Bantamweight title against the champion, Luca Rigoldi (22-1-2, KO8).
It’s a bit of a surprise opportunity for Yafai, as he hasn’t been operating at this level recently, and has won three low key contests since a points defeat to Gavin McDonnell in 2018.
Still, he is a slick boxer, and has a chance here against Rigoldi, who won the belt in November 2018 with a win on the cards against Jeremy Parodi in France.
Rigoldi has defended twice, but tripped up in a tick over fight last time out against the 4-12 Spartak Shengelia in December 2019, drawing over six rounds.
Prediction: Rigoldi may have fought at a higher level, but Yafai is an excellent talent, and will only have matured and learned from the McDonnell defeat.
It’s a tough ask to get a decision in Italy, but I think Yafai can get the victory via a close split decision.
Topping the bill should have been the Belgian, Francesco Patera, but the rising Lightweight star tested positive for COVID.
His opponent, Devis Boschiero (48-6-2, KO22) now faces Milan based Venezuelan, Samuel Gonzalez (22-7, KO13) instead over ten rounds at 135 pounds.
A professional since 2004, Boschiero’s highest accolade is the European title at Super Featherweight that he won in 2012 against Ermano Fegatilli.
Devis did defend his title three times before losing back to back decisions to Romain Jacob in 2014.
Since then, there has been no real progression for the Italian, but he has only been stopped once in six defeats, to Stephen Smith in a sixth round hammering in September 2015.
He did impress in his last step up though in November 2018, when edged out by Martin J Ward in a bid for the WBC International Silver crown.
Boschiero has won two on the spin since, his last coming in September last year, stopping Ivan Tomas in eight. This will be his first foray into Lightweight waters.
Gonzalez has only been halted early once, caught cold way back in 2014, and is durable. He is very much in the away corner though these days, and was last seen losing every round of eight to debutant Hovhannes Bachkov in Dubai in October.
Prediction: This could be a tough one to watch, with Gonzalez likely to look to survive. Boschiero can take a decision win though in what could turn out to be a drab affair.
European Super Lightweight champion, Sandor Martin (36-2, KO13) is in action, and the Spaniard shakes off the rust in a non-title eight-rounder against Italy based Nicaraguan, Nestor Maradiaga (8-9-1, KO4).
Martin has won seven on the bounce, and 19-year-old Maradiaga has gone the distance in his last four contests, so it’s likely Martin will need all eight rounds and the scorecards to record a latest win.
Female action comes at Super Featherweight, where France’s Maiva Hamadouche (21-1, KO17) defends her IBF Super Featherweight gold against Serbia’s Nina Pavlovic (6-3-1, KO1).
Hamadouche is unbeaten in a dozen contests since a defeat to Delfine Persoon in 2015, and has been IBF champion since November 2016, defending the belt six times along the way.
Her last outing was in July last year, stopping Janeth Perez in six in her home country.
Pavlovic has hardly shown world title pedigree, and has never been past six rounds.
She is 5-1 in her last six fights, but only three boxers in that run had won a bout. I expect Hamadouche to dominate here, and post a wide points win.
Rounding off the card is a Super Welterweight eight-rounder, where Rome based Mirko Natalizi (8-0, KO5) should be able to handily outscore Panamanian, Manuel Largacha (9-9-6, KO4).