Matchroom Italy has a March 27 card set for Verona, featuring a main event bout between Francesco Patera and Devis Boschiero for an interim WBA lightweight title.
Even considering it’s the WBA, who love to hand out belts to everyone who asks nicely enough, this one’s a pretty hilarious situation. The WBA currently have a “super world” champion in Vasiliy Lomachenko, a “world” champion Gervonta Davis, and a “gold” champion in Yvan Mendy. So no, they do not need an interim title at 135.
If you’re wondering, Patera (23-3, 8 KO) is currently ranked No. 4 by the WBA, while Boschiero (48-6-2, 22 KO) is ranked No. 5. But more than the interim belt, it’s a fight, period, so let’s just talk about the matchup and not worry about the WBA’s incredible watering down of their own titles.
The 26-year-old Patera, from Belgium, has been on a good run at European level, winning the EBU title in a fight with Lewis Ritson in Newcastle in Oct. 2018, and making successful defenses against Marvin Petit, Paul Hyland Jr, and Domenico Valentino. His last two bouts have been in Italy, where he’s become a regular for Matchroom.
Boschiero, 38, is a veteran fighter whose ceiling has been long established. He’s picked up a lot of wins over the years, but mostly against lousy opposition, while losing to the better opponents he’s faced. That started with controversial road losses to Takahiro Ao and Romain Jacob (twice) in 2011 and 2014, but he was stopped in six by Stephen Smith in 2015, and totally outclassed by Mario Barrios in 2016. His most recent loss came to Martin J. Ward in Nov. 2018, and he’s won a couple smaller fights since then.
Boschiero is a competent boxer but someone Patera should handle at this stage, as the Belgian seems to have come into his own, and is much younger and fresher than the Italian.
In the co-feature, 27-year-old Luca Rigoldi (22-1-2, 8 KO) will defend the European 122-pound title at home against 28-year-old Brit Gamal Yafai (17-1, 10 KO), who will look to take a big step in his career.
Rigoldi won the vacant title in Nov. 2018, beating Jeremy Parodi, and has made defenses against Anthony Settoul and Oleksandr Yegorov, both wide decision wins. That said, he’s coming off of a six-round draw in what was meant to be a tune-up fight against Georgia’s Spartak Shengelia in December. Shengelia came in with a record of 4-11, and Rigoldi had beaten him just a few months prior.
Yafai was a prospect on the rise until he stepped up in competition against Gavin McDonnell in Mar. 2018, losing a clear decision. He’s been quietly active since, winning three lower-level fights. A former Commonwealth champ, Yafai is no pup anymore, so the time to take some sort of swing is now, and Rigoldi appears plenty vulnerable. This is a chance for Yafai to really get things back on track after two years out of the spotlight.
The card will also feature the return of local favorite Fabio Turchi (17-1, 13 KO), a 26-year-old cruiserweight who was picking up a little buzz before an upset loss to Tommy McCarthy last October.