Italians are known worldwide for their unique and fiery brand of passion and fearsome competitive streak. It is therefore little wonder why the peninsula’s World Series of Boxing franchise bears the name ‘Thunder’, befitting of the team’s naturally intense style.
Italia Thunder debuted in the inaugural season of the competition as Milano Thunder. However, that time they failed to progress from the Europe conference.
Season II was an entirely different story as the Thunder won 37 of their 50 bouts in the group stage to progress to the playoffs where they thrashed Paris United in the quarter finals before storming past Azerbaijan Baku Fires 7-3 on aggregate to set up a finals date with Dynamo Moscow whom they bested in London to win the Champions title.
Season II saw the Italians again progress well but they were stopped in the semi-finals by eventual losing finalists Ukraine Otamans but returned to Season IV with one of the strongest squads in the tournament.
The home form of the Italians is part of WSB folklore, and they came into the fourth season of the competition having never tasted defeat in Italy. That record was kept intact as they won all six of their home fixtures in Season IV, amassing a 25-5 score in Caserta, and becoming the first WSB team to pass 100 home wins in the competition.
Indeed the Italians dominated the group stages, finishing top of Group A by losing just one of their ten matches away in Ukraine against their old foes, which led them to a playoff contest against Azerbaijan Baku Fires.
The first leg of the contest was a disaster for the Italians, as they lost every single bout, including a shocking knockout defeat for Heavyweight hero Clemente Russo in the first round.
Back at home in the second leg the Italians tried all they could, but only managed to muster up a 4-1 victory, which meant they exited the competition at the playoff stage for the second successive season, which was a huge disappointment for their legion of fans.
The Thunders’ brightest talents were Welsh superstar Andrew Selby, who continued his undefeated WSB record with several magnificent performances for Italy, and the virtuoso Domenico Valentino who also impressed spectators throughout Season IV.
In Season V, it will be interesting to see how the Italians fare in a group comprising Azerbaijan Baku Fires and Astana Arlans Kazakhstan as they look to build on their successful run in World Series of Boxing competition.