With Season II World Series of Boxing (WSB) champions Italia Thunder unveiling Their Season IV team on Friday night, who else could we feature today?
Fully endorsed by the Italian Boxing Federation and sponsored by the Italian luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian team has been synonymous with glamour and classy boxing which has attracted a huge fan base, not only in Italy, but all around the world. As defending WSB Champions the Italia Thunder had high expectations laid upon them when entering Season III. Their home form was fantastic; Indeed, they remain the only side to go unbeaten across all three seasons at home. They only went out in the play-offs to vice Champions the Ukraine Otamans. This consistency in Italia’s performances over the last three seasons means they will still be a team to watch next year, and thanks to a favourable draw, they look almost certain to qualify to the play-offs.
The Head Coach
The team will be led for the fourth consecutive season by Francesco Damiani. His pedigree speaks for itself, as boxer he took silver medals at both the 1982 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Munich and at the 1984 Olympic Games. He was also crowned European Gold Medallist in Tampere (Finland) in 1981 and in Varna (Bulgaria) in 1983. He fought 140 bouts as an amateur before turning professional in 1985. He fought 34 times, with a record of 32 wins and 2 losses. As a coach, he has lead boxers to one bronze medal at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, two golds (Clemente Russo, Roberto Camarelle) and one silver medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Chicago 2007, two gold medals at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Milano 2009 and one gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. He was once again ringside at the London 2012 Olympic Games to see his athletes claim two silvers and a bronze. Damiani will be leading the Italian team for the third consecutive year after guiding them to the WSB Team Trophy in season II.
Following a stunning performance him becoming AIBA World Champion a few weeks ago, it was of course Clemente Russo we called to see how the team was getting on.
First of all, congratulations on winning the gold medal at the World Championships. Will Being the World Champion will give you an extra boost and confidence to enter the WSB competition?
Definitely yes. Every victory increases the degree of awareness of my ability and encourages me to go forward with more motivation.
Tell us about the Dolce & Gabbana Italia squad for this Season.
We are a very strong team, made up of great, beautiful and intelligent people, that makes this a boxing team a wonderful thing.
This will be your fourth season in the WSB so you are a veteran of this competition. Do you still feel excited when the new season starts?
I’m always excited at the beginning of a new season and I feel I have a great responsibility as the captain and veteran of this team. Every year at the beginning of the season there is a great desire to win.
What is your view on the change to ten weight categories this year?
This system is definitely better than the five categories we had in the past few seasons, so every boxer can compete in his own weight category.
What is the atmosphere in the team just days away from the Season’s Launch?
There is a nice atmosphere of excitement and great concentration. For me there is also the joy of returning as the heavyweight world champion.
What are the lessons that your team learned in the Season III?
That you should never let your guard down, and that every match is a chapter in itself.
What are this Season’s objectives?
Win, win and win
Behind the Scenes with the Thunder
Check out these behind the scenes images from the Italia Thunder Instagram page