By Enrico “Erik” Crociati
Hometown hero and Italian boxing star Leonard Bundu (21-0-1, 6 KOs) won the vacant WBA Intercontinental welterweight title via a five round technical decision on Friday night at the Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy. The bout was stopped in five rounds due to a cut suffered by the 31-year-old co-challenger Carlos Adan Jerez (30-12-3, 16 KOs) in round two from an unintentional head butt. After the ringside doctor checked the dangerous cut, referee Giuseppe Quartarone stopped the action. Bundu was up (50-46 and 49-46 twice) on all cards against the tough Argentinian warrior at the time of the stoppage.
It was a brutal and bloody fight, with a football-like atmosphere with a packed arena of 2,000+ screaming fans standing on their feet to support their local hero during an unforgettable night for the local Florence Boxing Academy. Until the stoppage, both fighters gave more than expected and went toe-to-toe in a rough battle. The taller Jerez started the contest at a high pace, trying to establish his jab early on but the Italian was able to solve matters and close the distance with his better hand speed and came forward in his usual toe-to-toe style.
Bundu used his superior ring craft with an effective strong work rate to gain control of the clash and at the time of the stop his advantage was clear. The performance of ‘Boom Boom’ Bundu was impressive and his win is well deserved.
Topping the undercard of the show staged by Mario & Graziano Loreni, another Florence’s hero, bantamweight Rodrigo Bracco (11-2, 5 KOs) wowed the fellow attendance and won the vacant national title, when the corner of co-challenger Pio Antonio Nettuno (5-1, 1 KOs) stopped the fight at the end of round ten. Nettuno got off to a good start over the first round, but Bracco turned the tide in the second with a powerful combinations, but Nettuno was able to finish it, the middle round have been extremely intense with Bracco more powerful and accurate. The moment of truth and the end of the fight was in the tenth round, Bracco with a brutal barrage of punches dropped an exhausted lion heart Nettuno. The bout was then stopped by his corner. For the steel man Bracco was his first National title.
On the other undercards, the match among super featherweight Angelo Ardito (3-2-1) and Youness Laribi (3-3-2) is ended draw after six chaotic rounds and rising lightweight prospect Massimiliano Ballisai (9-0, 5 KOs) showed excellent boxing skills and outscored Armenian decent journeyman Araik Sachbazjan (12-12, 5 KOs) over six rounds, finally, hard hitting Albanian-born Vigan Mustafa (13-2, 6 KOs) outscored over six entertaining rounds Czech puncher Jindrich Velecky (16-9, 15 KOs) at light heavyweight limit.
The main event and the National title fight were televised live in Italy by Rai Sport Più.