Here in Italy this first defence of Vincenzo Nardiello's World Title - which he won at his third attempt by outpointing Sugarboy Malinga in Manchester in July - was regarded as a formality. The champion (30-5(17)) was facing an unproven challenger on home territory.

It was not to be for Nardiello however - three of his five defeats (all stoppages) prior to this match were at the hands of British fighters, and tonight he lost his title to another Briton. Robin Reid, from Runcorn in Cheshire, has gatecrashed the World scene apparently skipping many rungs of the ladder on his way to the top. His sole advantage over Nardiello appeared to be his punching power and this proved to be the deciding factor.

Reid (21-0-1(16)) started confidently, pressuring the Italian who is known to lose interest - often bizzarely - when the battle heats up. His nickname, "Ice", which was shaved into the back of his head is entirely inappropriate. Nardiello scored some counterpunches to the head and body, but it was not enough to prevent Reid from winning the round.

The champion did better in the second as he began to let his punches flow and give the Italian crowd something to cheer. We got a glimpse of his eccentricity towards the end of the round when Nardiello went down from what he claimed was a low blow. Referee Frank Cappucino quite rightly told him to get back on his feet and to stop play - acting.

This was a good sign for Reid as Nardiello has only resorted to such tactics in the past when ill at ease. By the third the southpaw champion was slipping into gear, circling Reid and landing snappy combinations. Reid caught a lot on his gloves but was by now standing off too much and allowing Nardiello to grow in confidence.

During round four I was beginning to think that this was too steep a step up in class for the part - time male model. Although he has good schooling and won an Olympic bronze as an amateur, Reid has never really been tested as a pro. Nardiello isn't exactly a terrifying opponent, but he has the advantage of having mixed at top level for the last few years.

In the fifth, Reid picked up his pace and started to put punches together at last. Suddenly, as the challenger set himself and let his shots go, Nardiello started to look wobbly and went into reverse. "The Grim Reaper" backed Nardiello into a corner and floored him with a three - punch combination. The champion rose, now cut over the left eye, to be saved by the bell.

In the following round Reid - perhaps surprised by the effectiveness of his own punching power - concentrated on loading up on single shots. Nardiello took advantage of this by finding his rhythm once more and dominating the round.

In the seventh Reid switched to southpaw and began to shake Nardiello up once more. He sunk a sickening right into the body of the champion, and Nardiello once more crouched to the canvas claiming a low blow. When Cappucino waved the action on, Reid landed a left to the body which floored Nardiello for the full count.




Two - time World champion Giovanni Parisi (32-2-1(24)) , in his second defence of this title, faced another man who had never mixed in World class in Sergio Rey-Revilla. This time however the champion had little trouble with his opponent, dispatching him in four rounds.

The Spanish challenger forced the action in the first three rounds, attacking gamely. Parisi stood back cooly having a look at his opponent but falling bahind on the scorecards. Although Revilla (18-1(11)) is not a heavy hitter, he looked to be dominating the Italian champion.

By the end of the third however, Parisi was starting to return some fire and become involved in the action. In round four he made his first real effort and floored Revilla with a left hook to the body. This single shot seemed to sap the confidence from the challenger and he fell again seconds later when hit with a short left to the head.

Parisi, still looking composed, went about finishing the job and did so with a stunning right hook to the head of Revilla. The referee should have stopped the fight but when it became apparent that he would not, the Spanish corner wisely threw the towel in.

Although he never hit top gear, Parisi looked very impressive and is still in the picture for big matches with fellow champions Tszyu, Randall and De La Hoya.

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