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Agostino Cardamone-Cardamon Man


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One of the best Italian boxers in the 90's was Agostino Cardamone, a splendid technician and a guy who didn't shy away from brawls. He had an aggressive style and could hit hard enough and usually take a lot of punishment as well. Only the monster puncher Julian Jackson was able to get him out of there quickly, but not without problems. At 172 cm or 5'8, he was short for a middleweight, but therefore had the speed and good movement. Ultimately, he failed to capture a world title but was one of few Italians to fight for the world middleweight title in the 90's and it was an admirable attempt.

Cardamone comes from the southern region of Italy, Campania, and was born in Piano, a town in the Montoro municipality, 1 December 1965. He is of Romani (Gypsy) origin. The southpaw Cardamone started his pro career in March 1989. After going 15-0, he was matched against the 16-0 Silvio Branco for the Italian middle title, 1 February 1992 in Civitavecchia, Branco's hometown. It seems everything was rigged up for the popular Branco to win, but Agostino defied the odds and outboxed the taller Branco (he stands 184 cm or just below 6'1) to win on points after 12 rounds. He defended the title twice, both by knockout, before vacating it to challenge for the European one. On 23 June 1993, Cardamone became the European champion by easily beating his compatriot Francesco Dell'Aquila, another tall fighter, by KO 3. He made 3 successful defenses, beating Frederic Seillier on points away in France, Gino Lelong also on points in Spain and finally stopping British Neville Brown by TKO 7. He was now ready to challenge for a world title. He got his crack at a vacant WBC title against Julian Jackson, after Gerald McClellan had vacated it. 

The fight took place in Worcester, Mass, 17 March 1995 and Cardamone got off to a great start in the first round and wobbled Jackson with a right hook a minute into the round. He pounded Jackson for the remainder of the round and also cut him under the left eye. In round 2, Cardamone had the fight seemingly under control, until he got caught flush with a short right to the chin which put him down. Although he got up at the count of 7, he was very wobbly and fell into the ref's arms-that was it, after 1 minute 50 seconds of the round. Ironically, Jackson would go on to lose the title in his first defense and would never fight for it again. Agostino got back on track by decisioning Gradimir Andric of Serbia, before fighting for the Euro title which he had vacated. His opponent was the Russian Alexander Zaytsev, who had previously been beaten by Silvio Branco, on points. Zaytsev had a record of 15-6 and so, Cardamone was expected to win. The fight was staged in Sassari, Italy, 29 June 1996 and Cardamone suffered an upset loss when he was knocked out in the 10th round. 

After winning some minor fights, he took on Zaytsev again for the once again vacant European title, 24 April 1998 in Serino, Italy. This time, things went better and he recaptured the title by UD, by mostly wide scores. On 18 December that year, he once again faced Silvio Branco in a fight for the WBU title which Branco was defending. Cardamone was very impressive and stopped Branco by KO 10 this time. Branco had only been stopped once before, by Richie Woodhall in 9 rounds. They had a rematch on 27 March next year, but Cardamone just proved to have Branco's number and beat him for the third time, this time by UD. This proved to be his final achievement, as he lost the WBU belt to Raymond Joval, a Surinamese-Dutch fighter, by TKO 9, 26 June same year in Benevento. Cardamone was almost 34 when he retired, with a record of 33 wins with 15 ko's and 3 losses, all by ko. 

The fact that he never lost on points shows that Cardamone was indeed a clever fighter. He had enough power also, but had he possessed the same kind of power as Julian Jackson, that fight would've been over before Jackson would be able to turn it around, most likely. Still, despite that loss, Cardamone was definitely one of the most talented and successful Italian boxers of the 90's. He also knew when time was right to quit, unlike Silvio Branco for instance. Despite being short for a middleweight, he was able to get the better of many taller boxers with his superior skills, movement and speed. Here's to you, Agostino Cardamone!



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