Old friends become foes in Italian season opener


When reigning champions Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder begin the defence of their title at home to German Eagles, one fight that stands out on the card is the match-up between old teammates Veaceslav Gojan and Vincenzo Picardi. The Eagles’ Gojan made the switch from the Thunder this summer and will be pitted against his good friend, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Picardi, in the evening’s opening Bantamweight (54kg) contest.

It will be a tough introduction to life in World Series of Boxing (WSB) for German Eagles as an extremely strong line-up awaits them at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan. It is a real message of intent by the Italian Franchise with an array of stellar names taking to the ring in their season opener.

On facing his old sparring partner, Gojan declared, “I trained a lot with Picardi, we were living together in Milan for seven months so I know him well. I feel extremely confident going into the fight; I know his strengths as well as his weaknesses. It will be close but it is my time to shine now”.

Analysing his own ambitions and his new team, he stated, “Our team has great balance and we are a very strong unit. We might not have the big names but we can go about our business without pressure, the objective is reaching the semi-finals. For my part, I train rigorously twice a day to become a champion and along with my trainer Pietro Vasili Kaduk, I can go right to the top”.

Vincenzo Picardi is eager to test himself against his old friend, stating, “It will be a fantastic fight, it promises to be really entertaining for the fans”. Before adding, “I feel on top of my game right now, it will be up to me to prove I am the best. In terms of strategy, it will all depend of how things unfold on the day but I can tell you that I am relishing this bout”.

Filipino superstar Charly Suarez, who joined the Thunder this summer, will then battle German Eagles’ 22-year-old Robert Harutyunyan in the Lightweight (61kg) contest before London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Vincenzo Mangiacapre graces the canvas with his power and make his long-awaited WSB debut against tough Moldovan Vasilii Belous at Middleweight (73kg).

2011 WSB Individual Light Heavyweight (85kg) Champion Abdelhafid Benchabla, who joined the Italian Franchise from Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, will also be making his debut under his new colours versus the orthodox Serge Michel. Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder Team Captain and undefeated Heavyweight (91+kg) king Clemente Russo, fresh from a second silver medal at the Olympic Games, will be bringing the show to a close when he goes head-to-head with the much improved heavy-hitter Philipp Gruner.

With half the boxers on show being London Olympians, this match will be showcasing the very best talent on the planet. It promises to be a night to remember.