By Paolo Consiglio at ringside
Saturday evening in Rome, at the Palazzetto dello Sport, Italian welterweight Daniele Petrucci (24-0-1, 9 KOs) remained undefeated by scoring a dominant twelve-round unanimous decision over rugged Mexican Jose Luis Cruz (37-6-2, 30 KOs). In front of a near capacity crowd, Petrucci put together a near-perfect performance stamping his authority on the proceedings from the start, always beating Cruz to the punch, expecially with the left hook, and never letting him get into the fight. Petrucci is not considered a particularly hard hitter but his smart aggression along with his crisp and accurate punches constantly forced his bigger opponent to back up. Cruz had his moments in the second half of the bout landing some decent bodyshots but was too slow to catch the hometown favourite with fight-altering punches. Petrucci won widely on two scorecards (119-109 and 117-111) while the third judge someway had it much closer (116-113).
The Italian fighter deserves credit for this sound display of boxing skills and now looks on his way at the European level but the significance of his victory must be placed into perspective. Apart from his proven granite chin, Cruz showed very little, looking a shell of the fighter who once pushed the likes of Shane Mosley and Sharmba Mitchell to the limit.
On the undercard of a show staged by Davide Buccioni’s BBT, Karim Chakim (17-7, 9 KOs) of France upset Italian lightweight champion Simone Califano (13-2, 7 KOs) by way of third round TKO, light- middle Manuel Ernesti (4-0, 3 KOs) showed good promise dispatching late- substitute Hungarian Antal Kubicsek (5-16-4) also in three rounds while supermiddle Roberto Cocco (10-3, 5 KOs) and cruiserweight Alessio Sakara (8-1, 6 KOs) scored workmanlike six-round decisions over Attila Kiss (8-52-3, 1 KOs) of Hungary and Tomasz Mazrek (4-22-4, 3 KOs) of the Czech Republic, respectively.
The main event was televised in Italy by RAI2.