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Forgotten Champions: Horacio Accavallo


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Although today he is known by only the greatest boxing history fans, Accavallo was in fact the undisputed flyweight champion of the world between March 1966 and October 1968, making 3 defences. He only lost twice in 83 pro fights, and avenged his first loss, to world class Salvatore Burruni, himself briefly an undisputed champion. He was known under his fighting alias of "Roquino", Spanish for Rocky and stood 5'1 and a half or 156 cm. He is one of very few boxers to retire as world champion and left behind a record of 75 wins, scoring 34 ko's, 2 losses and 6 draws.


Horacio Enrique Accavallo was born 14 October 1934 in Villa Diamante, a part of Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. He became a pro on 21 September 1956, just before his 22nd birthday. He won his first 10 fights by knockout. He went 26-0-6 before losing to Salvatore Burruni, fighting away in Italy on 1 August 1959 and dropping a 10-round decision. They would meet again. In October 1961, he won the South American title against Jupiter Mansilla, by UD15. He mainly fought in Argentina, but had several fights in Italy early on. He never defended the SA title however, and instead concentrated on defending his Argentinian title which he won previously. After losing to Burruni, he went undefeated for the next 6 years and then, on 7 August 1965, he avenged the loss to the Italian by dropping him in the first round and winning by UD10. After Burruni got stripped for not fighting him after winning the undisputed title from Pone Kingpetch, Accavallo was given a chance to win it against Katsuyoshi Takayama-but of course, he had to go to Japan. It was on 1 March 1966 at Budokan that Accavallo became a champion by staging a comeback in the latter half of the bruising fight, to win by SD15. In his first defense, he took on the best Japanese flyweight of that time, Hiroyuki Ebihara, however this time the fight was in Buenos Aires, 15 July '66. He won by UD, despite getting cut by an Ebihara jab in the 11th. For his second defense, he took on another world-class fighter, the Mexican Efren Torres, a very tough and hard-hitting fighter. The fight was on 10 December same year, once again at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires. It was a very gruelling fight and Accavallo went down in the 6th from a right cross and was badly cut up and his left eye swollen, but he staged a brave rally in the 12th round and hurt Torres with a series of flurries that opened a bad cut under the Mexican's left eye. He also closed with flurries in the 15th and last round to earn the decision unanimously.


He then went back to Japan for a non-title fight against the 20-0-1 Kiyoshi Tanabe-and it turned out it was lucky for him it wasn't a title fight, because Accavallo got stopped in 6 rounds, after first getting knocked down in the third and the fourth. After suffering a bad cut on his forehead, Accavallo was waved off by the referee late in the sixth and thus lost by TKO. There would be no rematch with the title at stake, for some reason. Instead, "Roqino" faced Ebihara again for his third defense, which would turn out to be his last fight-12 August 1967 in Estadio Luna Park. The challenger opened aggressively, but the champion took control after Ebihara tired after 3 rounds and cut him on the right eye with hooks to the head. Ebihara managed to open a cut over his left eye in the 10th, but otherwise, Accavallo was unmarked and in the end took home a majority decision victory. He was now nearing 33 when he chose to retire while the going was still good. Time has not paid him any tribute, unfortunately, probably because he fought in the flyweight division, which until recent times was rather ignored by the boxing enthusiasts and crowds, but Horacio Enrique Accavallo was surely one of the best flyweights of his time, if not ever, and also one of the best Argentinian boxers. And that is why he is a FORGOTTEN CHAMPION!



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