Defender Piero del Papa of Italy retained his European light Heavyweight title in a tough bout against German Horst benedens in West Berlin last night (Friday).
Defender Piero del Papa of Italy retained his European light Heavyweight title in a tough bout against German Horst benedens in West Berlin last night (Friday). British referee Wally Thom stopped the fight in the last round when del Papa had his challenger helplessly pinned in a corner.
It was a dramatic end to a gruelling battle which had a very different beginning.
In the opening round, Benedens several times ducked under the arm of del Papa--and on one occasion the Italian champion went sprawling through the ropes and out of the ring. Del Papa seemed to have hurt his back, but he climbed back into the ring and advanced into a savage exchange of punches with Benedens.
There was a similar incident in round two. Benedens seemed to punch del Papa after the Italian was halfway through the ropes. While the fans howled derision, someone threw a bucket into the ring.
After these early upsets, del Papa settled down. In a bout where the boxers made up in fitness what they lacked in skill, the superior strength of the 32-year-old champion proved decisive. Benedens, four years younger, had to absorb tremendous punishment.
In the fifteenth and final round, Benedens was twice clubbed to the canvas before referee Thom moved in to save him further punishment and declare del Papa the winner.