The Allianz Cloud in Milan is the latest setting for Matchroom Italy this Friday. Sky Sports televise in the UK, while DAZN broadcast for the rest of the world.
Big punching Italian, Daniele Scardina (17-0, KO14) is the bill topper, and he defends his IBF International Super Middleweight Title against the limited Belgian, Ilias Achergui (13-4-1, KO6).
Scardina is Italy’s latest hope for World Title glory, and the Miami Beach based man has made a perfect start in the pro ranks thus far.
Scardina picked up the belt in March this year, with a wide points win against Henri Kekalainen in Milan. He defended three months later with an equally as dominant points win against Alessandro Goddi.
His opponent this Friday shouldn’t cause him too much concern. Achergui The 26 year old is durable, and has only been stopped once, retiring due to injury at the end of the same round after knocking down the unbeaten Aidos Yerbossynuly in Russia in December last year. A split decision win against Cedric Spera, who had been stopped by Martin Murray amongst others in his career was Achergui’s last appearance in June.
Prediction: I expect Achergui to take Scardina rounds, but ultimately he will find the going too tough after halfway. Scardina should be able to score a stoppage win just after this mark.
A man that should be moving on after a career best win last year is Francesco Patera (22-3, KO8) and the Belgian defends his European Lightweight Title for the third time against home favourite, Domenico Valentino (8-0, KO1).
After losses to Yvan Mendy, Sean “Masher” Dodd, and a rematch defeat to Edis Tatli, Patera wasn’t expected to derail the Lewis Ritson Lightweight express in their vacant European Title clash last October. He did just that in his opponent’s Newcastle back yard, pulverising Ritson’s body, and dominating their fight, despite a split decision being returned.
Since that night, Patera defended at home in February, unanimously outpointing Marvin Petit, and, in his last outing at Friday’s Milan venue in June, Paul Hyland Junior was stopped in six rounds.
His opponent this week is largely untested as a professional, 35 years old, and not a concussive puncher. Domenico Valentino was a decorated amateur, winning World Championship Gold in 2009, but didn’t turn over until he was 33. So far, he only has an Italian Title to show for his efforts, earned in a fifth round technical decision win against Benoit Manno in September last year. His last fight was also in June, a ten round points win against the 7-5 Ciprian Albert.
Prediction: I think that Valentino has left turning professional very late, and doesn’t look to have the style suited to the professional code. Patera is very underrated, and his win over Ritson looks even better a year on. I think Patera will control the action in this one, and pound out a points win, as he attempts to break into World class in 2020.
In a change to recent times, British and Irish fighters are starting to cause upsets in Italy, and Wales’ Tony Dixon (12-2, KO3) hopes to add his name to this list.
The IBF International Welterweight Title is on the line over ten rounds, as Dixon meets Maxim Prodan (17-0-, KO14), a man born in Ukraine, of Romanian nationality, and a resident of Milan.
Prodan’s sole blemish on his record is a May 2017 eight round draw with Manuel Largacha, but he avenged this with a sixth round stoppage win nine months later. He picked up the interim version of the IBF International Title in March this year, widely outscoring Steve Jamoye, who faces Conor Benn this weekend, over ten rounds in March. His last fight saw him win a six rounder against Nika Nakashidze.
Chris Sanigar managed Dixon turned pro in 2012, and is a two weight Welsh Champion. He was stopped in a round by Paddy Gallagher in May 2016, and lost every round of eight to Ted Cheeseman in December 2017. He has fought twice since, winning the vacant Welsh Welterweight Title by a point against Kieran Gething, and last time out, he got up off the floor to beat Faheem Khan on points.
Prediction: Although there has been a recent trend of British fighters scoring away wins in Italy, I don’t see Prodan slipping up in Milan. He could well score an early knockdown, before dominating for a wide points win.