By Paolo Consiglio
This Friday night in Avezzano, Italy, Massimo Morra (20-4-3, 6 KOs) pulled off a big upset, stopping previously undefeated countryman Gianpiero Contestabile (12-1, 7 KOs) in the eighth round to capture the domestic featherweight belt.
Making the maiden defence of the title he won last year, Contestabile was never able to put his height and reach advantages at full use, as Morra applied unrelenting pressure from the outset dictating the pace of the bout. Contestabile, who had never been past the sixth round, gradually unraveled physically, probably due to weight-related problems, and was also deducted a point in the fifth session for pushing Morra.
The challenger’s effort never subsided until a huge right hand flattened Contestabile in dramatic fashion in the eighth round. Contestabile dragged himself upright and was inexplicably allowed to continue by referee Raffaele Argiolas until two more knockdowns sealed the victory for the 35-year-old Morra, who was listed as a +700 underdog at some sportsbooks and is now a two-division domestic champion having previously held the Italian title at 122lbs.
On the undercard of the first boxing show staged in the Abruzzo region of Italy after the April 6 earthquake which left 300 dead and thousands homeless, Andrea Sarritzu (29-4-4-1, 11 KOs) tuned up for his upcoming European challenge at flyweight against old rival Cristophe Rodrigues with a six-round decision win over Kemal Plavci (4-27, 1 KO) of Serbia.
The card was promoted by Armando De Clemente and televised in Italy by Raisportpiù.