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Forgotten Champions: Carmelo Bossi

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Now, this guy can REALLY be called forgotten! Even though he was the undisputed world light middleweight champion from 1970 to 1971 and even made one successful defense, losing his championship by split decision away in Japan, Bossi is today all but forgotten by boxing writers. He was also the 1960 Olympic silver medalist in the same division and also won the European title as a pro-meaning he won pretty much everything there is to win as a boxer, back then anyway, when there were no amateur world championships. He however experienced no less than 8 losses in his pro career, but was stopped only twice, once early on and once by a dangerous puncher. Here is the story of Italy's forgotten world champion: Carmelo Bossi


Bossi was born 15 October 1939 in Milan, the "capital" of northern Italy, and grew up there. The 5'7 (170 cm) Bossi qualified for the 1960 Olympics in Rome, his home country and surprised everyone by going all the way to the finals, where he lost to American Wilbert McClure on points. He then turned pro in March next year and won his first fight against Isidoro Princic by a disqualification in 2 rounds. He then won 7 more fights, 2 by knockout, before losing for the first time by TKO 5 against Johnny Angel of Nigeria, in September 1963. After winning 12 more fights, he fought in an eliminator for the Italian welterweight title against Domenico Parmeggiani and won on points in June 1965. He then faced one of the best Italian boxers back then, Domenico Tiberia, for the title on 5 October and beat him by UD 12. Next year on 21 April, he fought to a draw against the famed Cuban contender Angel Robinson Garcia, who back then had a record of 83-28-7. He defended his Italian title in a rematch with Tiberia and once again won on points after 12 rounds. On 17 May 1967, he fought Jean Josselin for the European welter title in San Remo, Italy, and was victorious on points after 15 rounds, thus also becoming the European champion. He then stopped Robinson Garcia in a non-title fight by TKO5, due to a cut. He then defended his European title for the first time by scoring a rare stoppage against Johnny Cooke of England, a TKO 12. On 7 October that same year, he went to South Africa to fight for their version of the "world title" against their local hero Willie Ludick, but lost on points. Only a month later, 25 November, they had a rematch and once again Ludick won on points. Bossi made his second successful defense of the Euro title in a rematch with Josselin and won on points in 15 rounds. On 14 August 1968, he experienced an upset loss against a relatively inexperienced but hard-hitting Curacao fighter, Fighting Mack. He was knocked out in 10 rounds and thus lost his Euro title. He avenged the loss next year when he outpointed Mack over 10 rounds on 20 June.


On 31 October same year, he for the first time faced the promising American Freddie Little, fighting at 154. In a furious fight, the two collided heads in the third round and a deep cut opened above Bossi's nose. A doctor examined him and then advised the ref to stop the fight, which he did. Thus, the fight ended in a technical decision loss for Bossi, even tho by today's rules it would have been a technical draw because it ended so early. The crowd were furious and threw various things into the ring and even Bossi had to carry a chair on his way out to protect himself from the flying objects! Little was actually the undisputed champion, but his titles weren't on the line. They would meet again, but before that, Bossi had one more go as a welter and challenged the new European champion Johann Orsolics of Austria, but lost to him on points in Vienna on 9 April 1970. On 9 July that year, Bossi had a rematch against Little but this time with the world titles at stake. The fight was staged in Monza, Italy and after 15 rounds were completed, the referee and sole scoring judge proclaimed Bossi as the winner with the result of 73-69. Bossi was now the undisputed champion but in a division that was still relatively new and didn't have that many stars. Maybe that is why he first tried himself at middleweight in a non-title fight, against South African Pierre Fourie. Going to South Africa once again proved to be a bad choice for Bossi. who lost on points after 10 rounds. He then made his first defense as the world junior middle champion against Jose Hernandez of Spain, who back then held the European title. Hernandez was younger and at 5'11 much taller and the fight was in Madrid, in his homeland. Still, Bossi proved too good to be beaten and walked away with his titles intact after the fight was judged to be a draw, two judges had it even and one gave the challenger a fight but by one point. That was on 29 April 1971 and on 31 October, Halloween Night, came Bossi's last fight and second defense against Koichi Wajima. As usual, he had to go to Japan because their fighters were known for their reluctance to fight abroad. Wajima was a very aggressive, tenacious and even hard-hitting fighter, but Bossi lasted the distance and gave him hell, only to lose by a split decision. The Italian judge was the only one that gave him the victory. 73-70, Japanese judge and the American judge however favored the Japanese challenger. And so, that was it for Carmelo Bossi as a prizefighter. He retired at 32 years of age and a record of 40 wins, 10 by ko, 8 losses and 3 draws.


Carmelo Bossi died of pneumonia on 23 March 2014 at the age of 74. He never quite got his due, either in his homeland or in the boxing world and history in general, probably due to the fact that he was a technical, "boring" fighter, who didn't score many knockouts and didn't always fight in an exciting manner. He was a tough guy and going 15 against such great offensive fighters as Little and Wajima proves that. Sadly, just as his career seemed to really take off, it came to a sudden end in Japan. And this is why Carmelo Bossi today is a FORGOTTEN CHAMPION!



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