Joe Calzaghe

Joseph William Calzaghe CBE (born 23 March 1972 in Hammersmith, London, England) is a Welsh boxer. He is rated by Ring Magazine as pound for pound one of the top 10 boxers in the world.

He is sometimes referred to as the "Italian Dragon" in reference to his mixed heritage (the dragon being both a Welsh emblem and a Sardinian myth), or the "Pride of Wales." He is currently the Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight champion. He is also the former WBO, WBA, WBC, IBF, The Ring Magazine and the British Super Middleweight champion.

Calzaghe is currently the longest reigning title holder in any weight class in boxing, recently passing the ten year mark as the WBO super middleweight champion. He is part of the Team Calzaghe based at the Newbridge boxing club.

In 2007, Calzaghe became BBC Sports Personality of the Year on December 9, beating Ricky Hatton and Lewis Hamilton by gaining 28.19% of the public vote. This made Calzaghe the first Welsh winner of this award since show jumper David Broome in 1960.

Calzaghe holds notable wins over Chris Eubank, Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler, and Bernard Hopkins


Calzaghe was born in Hammersmith, west London, England to Sardinian Enzo Calzaghe and his Welsh mother Jackie. He has two children aged 14 and 10.

Already a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.


Calzaghe started boxing aged nine, with the southpaw having 120+ fights and won four schoolboy ABA titles, followed by three consecutive senior British ABA titles (British Championships) from 1991 to 1993. This made him only the second boxer in history to win at welter, light middleweight and middleweight divisions. He also beat future WBO and IBF heavyweight world champion Chris Byrd as a middleweight in 1992. Calzaghe received his last ever defeat when he boxed at the 1990 Welsh ABA final against Michael Smyth.

Professional career

In September 1993 Calzaghe was signed up to the Terry Lawless and Mickey Duff stable and made his professional debut at Cardiff Arms Park on the Lewis-Bruno bill the following month. By June 1995, Calzaghe had won nine out of nine fights, seven in the first round and two in the second. At the end of 1995 Calzaghe was voted Young Boxer of the Year by the Professional Boxing Association and the Boxing Writers' Club, with Barry McGuigan's top tipping Calzaghe for 1996: "He punches ferociously, moves superbly and has the best of the European technique and US aggression."

By October 1995, he had won the British title, stopping Steve Wilson in the eighth round. Calzaghe's critics said that he had not really been tested, while Calzaghe said in reply that he could only beat whoever was out there and prepared to fight him.

In November 1996, Calzaghe moved to Frank Warren's stable. Warren, who had managed Nigel Benn for his first twenty fights, declared: "Joe Calzaghe is a far better prospect, in fact he is my fighter for the new millennium." Warren spent the summer of 1997 chasing a fight for Calzaghe with either WBC champion Robin Reid or WBO title holder Steve Collins. The fight with Collins was arranged, but at a late stage Collins withdrew because of injury, was stripped of his title, and then retired.

Calzaghe split with promoter Frank Warren in June 2008 and announced that he would promote his fights personally for the remainder of his career. The split caused Warren to launch a court case against Calzaghe, claiming that a verbal promise was broken. Calzaghe denies the claim, and the case is ongoing.

WBO Super Middleweight title holder

A fight against the recently deposed title holder and British boxing legend Chris Eubank was set up for the vacant WBO title on 11 October 1997, in Sheffield. Calzaghe shocked the world by emerging victorious over the two time WBO champion, knocking down Eubank in the first round then claiming a unanimous points win. The judges scored the contest 118-110, 118-109, and 116-111 in favour of Calzaghe. Eubank said of Calzaghe in a 2006 interview that: "Joe is the proper article, a true warrior."

Calzaghe conceded that Eubank, even in his comeback, gave him the toughest fight of his life.

In 1998 he defended his title against Branco Sobot (winning by technical knockout in 3 rounds) and then Juan Carlos Gimenez (TKO in 10 rounds), a former opponent of both Nigel Benn and Eubank.

In 1999, Calzaghe started out by fighting his domestic rival, Robin Reid. Calzaghe was bitter that Reid refused to face him whilst holding the WBC championship in a unification bout, and vowed to beat him. After twelve rounds, the judges scored the fight for Calzaghe via a split decision. Reid was never given the opportunity of a rematch. Calzaghe damaged his hand early on in the fight and according to Calzaghe, he suffered a dose of food poisoning. Calzaghe finished the year with another points win against Rick Thornberry.

2000 started with another points decision against David Starie. This was followed by wins against the Omar Sheika (a five round stoppage), and former WBC champion and close friend Richie Woodhall.

2001 started with a first round stoppage win over unbeaten Mario Veit, followed by a win against Will Mcintyre on the Tyson undercard in Copenhagen.

2002 started with points wins against both the former IBF champion Charles Brewer and Miguel Jimenez in Cardiff, followed by a TKO of Tocker Pudwill, who took the fight at very short notice as a replacement for the injured Thomas Tate, in Newcastle in December.

Calzaghe's only fight of 2003 was in June against Byron Mitchell at the Cardiff International Arena. Calzaghe won by TKO in the second. Calzaghe suffered his first career knockdown in this fight being down himself in the second round.

2004 started out with a defence against Mger Mkrtchian in Cardiff where he won with a seventh round knockout, followed by a points win over Karbary Salem in Edinburgh in October, during which Calzaghe was knocked down in the fourth round by a right hand. However, he dominated the fight and knocked Salem down in the 12th round, winning comfortably on all three scorecards, 116-109,117-109,118-107.

Veit got a rematch against Calzaghe in Braunschweig, Germany, in July 2005. Calzaghe beat Veit by technical knockout in the sixth round. On 10 September, 2005, Calzaghe fought the Kenyan boxer Evans Ashira and won by a unanimous decision despite breaking his left hand in the third round. Calzaghe fought on one-handed winning 120-108, 120-108, 120-107.

IBF Super Middleweight Champion

His scheduled bout with IBF world champion Jeff Lacy for 5 November2005 was initially canceled due to the break sustained to the metacarpal in his left hand. Warren successfully rescheduled it for 5 March2006, and the match was won by unanimous points decision over Lacy who was a heavy pre-fight favourite with the bookmakers, and pundits alike. Calzaghe dominated throughout the fight, with the British fight fans chanting "Over-rated" at the American during the last three rounds. Calzaghe gained the IBF title, and won every round despite a point being deducted in the 11th for an illegal "behind the body" punch. He also won recognition from The Ring magazine. On 14 October 2006, Sakio Bika challenged Calzaghe. Two points were deducted from Bika for head butts, one of which led to a severe cut over Calzaghe's left eye which would cause him problems for the duration of the bout. Calzaghe won the fight on decision, to retain his undefeated run.

Relinquishing IBF world championship

On November 27, 2006, it was announced that Calzaghe had signed a contract to defend his WBO super middleweight title against former star of The Contender Peter Manfredo Jr. on April 7, 2007, at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales to be shown on HBO. Because HBO didn't want to cover any fight with mandatory IBF challenger Robert Stieglitz, and with the opportunity if he won against Manfredo to fight Taylor in the summer, Calzaghe chose to fight Manfredo and as a result had to relinquish the IBF super middleweight championship. Both Calzaghe and Warren claimed that "Stieglitz doesn't mean anything outside of Germany. Stieglitz went on to fight Alejandro Berrio for the vacant IBF title, losing in 3 rounds. Berrio in turn lost the title to Lucian Bute in his first defense.

Fighting "Contender" Peter Manfredo Jr.

On April 7, 2007, Calzaghe met Peter Manfredo Jr. in front of 35,000 fans in Cardiff, Wales. Calzaghe was victorious on a third round stoppage, unleashing a flurry of punches on Manfredo, who threw nothing in return, thus drawing a stoppage from the referee. Manfredo and some commentators called the stoppage premature because Manfredo did not appear hurt. HBO's ringside announcers declared that the stoppage was "way too quick." Trainer Emanuel Steward did contend that Calzaghe was on his way to victory, but the stoppage taints the performance by no fault of his own.

Undisputed Title

Calzaghe vs. Kessler

In May 2007, Frank Warren released details to BBC 5 Live and on his website that Calzaghe had accepted Mogens Palle's offer of $5 million to fight Mikkel Kessler in Copenhagen, Denmark. The bout took place at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on November 4.The fight was a unification bout for the WBO/WBA super/WBC/Ring Magazine super middleweight titles. Calzaghe won by unanimous decision becoming the first undisputed super middleweight champion of the world and surpassed the 20 defenses made by Bernard Hopkins and Larry Holmes at middleweight and heavyweight respectively. Only Joe Louis with 25 defenses of the undisputed heavyweight title and Dariusz Michalczewski with 23 defenses of the WBO light heavyweight title have more defenses of a title.

Moving to Light Heavyweight

Calzaghe vs. Hopkins

On April 19, 2008, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Calzaghe defeated Bernard Hopkins and won The Ring light heavyweight championship by split decision in his first ever fight in the United States. Calzaghe did not get off to a good start. Hopkins dropped him with a right hand in the first round and began to get the better of Calzaghe on the inside. As the rounds went on, Calzaghe began to get his rhythm going by landing combinations at close range. Hopkins’ key weapon was his right hand, but after a few rounds Calzaghe could see the right hands coming and blocked the shots with his glove. According to CompuBox, Calzaghe landed more punches on Hopkins than any of his previous opponents. In the end, judges Chuck Giampa (116-111) and Ted Gimza (115-112) scored the fight for Calzaghe, while judge Adalaide Byrd (114-113) scored the fight for Hopkins.

Calzaghe vs. Jones Jr.

On July 8th 2008, after Calzaghe's split from Frank Warren, it was officially announced that Roy Jones Jr. and Joe Calzaghe had reached an agreement to fight for the Ring Magazine Light-Heavyweight championship in New York City at Madison Square Garden on September 20th, 2008 on HBO PPV. It has been reported that Calzaghe injured his right hand in training, and so the "super fight" had to be postponed a couple of months, with 8th November being set as the new date for the fight.

Professional boxing record

45 Wins (32 knockouts, 13 decisions), 0 Losses, 0 Draws
Res. Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Roy Jones Jr. TBD TBD 2008-11-08 New York City
Win Bernard Hopkins Decision 12 2008-04-19 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Win Mikkel Kessler Decision 12 2007-11-03 Cardiff, Wales
Win Peter Manfredo TKO 3 , 1:30 2007-04-07 Cardiff, Wales
Win Sakio Bika Decision 12 2006-10-14 Manchester, England
Win Jeff Lacy Decision 12 2006-03-04 Manchester, England
Win Evans Ashira Decision 12 2005-09-10 Cardiff, Wales
Win Mario Veit TKO 6 , 0:42 2005-05-07 Braunschweig, Germany
Win Kabary Salem Decision 12 2004-10-22 Edinburgh, Scotland
Win Mger Mkrtchian TKO 7 , 1:05 2004-02-21 Cardiff, Wales
Win Byron Mitchell TKO 2 2003-06-28 Cardiff, Wales
Win Tocker Pudwill KO 2 , 0:39 2002-12-14 Newcastle, England
Win Miguel Ángel Jiménez Decision 12 2002-08-17 Cardiff, Wales
Win Charles Brewer Decision 12 2002-04-20 Cardiff, Wales
Win Will McIntyre TKO 4 , 0:45 2001-10-13 Copenhagen, Denmark
Win Mario Veit TKO 1 , 1:52 2001-04-28 Cardiff, Wales
Win Richie Woodhall TKO 10 , 0:28 2000-12-16 Sheffield, England
Win Omar Sheika TKO 5 , 2;08 2000-08-12 Wembley, England
Win David Starie Decision 12 2000-01-29 Manchester, England
Win Rick Thornberry Decision 12 1999-06-05 Cardiff, Wales
Win Robin Reid Decision 12 1999-02-13 Newcastle, England
Win Juan Carlos Gimenez TKO 9 , 3:00 1998-04-25 Cardiff, Wales
Win Branko Sobot TKO 3 , 1:35 1998-01-24 Cardiff, Wales
Win Chris Eubank Decision 12 1997-10-11 Sheffield, England
Win Luciano Torres TKO 3 1997-06-05 Bristol, England
Win Tyler Hughes KO 1 1997-03-22 Manchester, England
Win Carlos Christie TKO 2 1997-01-21 Bristol, England
Win Pat Lawlor TKO 2 1996-05-15 Cardiff, Wales
Win Warren Stowe TKO 2 1996-05-04 Dagenham, England
Win Mark Delaney TKO 5 1996-04-20 Brentwood, England
Win Anthony Brooks TKO 2 1996-03-13 Wembley, England
Win Guy Stanford TKO 1 1996-02-13 Cardiff, Wales
Win Stephen Wilson TKO 8 1995-10-28 London, England
Win Nick Manners TKO 4 1995-09-30 Basildon, England
Win Tyrone Jackson TKO 4 , 1:08 1995-07-08 York, England
Win Robert Curry TKO 1 1995-05-19 London, England
Win Bobbie Joe Edwards Decision 8 1995-02-22 Telford, England
Win Frank Minton KO 1 , 1:25 1995-02-14 London, England
Win Trevor Ambrose TKO 2 1994-11-30 Wolverhampton, England
Win Mark Lee Dawson TKO 1 1994-10-01 Cardiff, Wales
Win Karl Barwise TKO 1 1994-06-04 Cardiff, Wales
Win Darren Littlewood TKO 1 1994-03-01 Dudley, England
Win Martin Rosamond TKO 1 1994-01-22 Cardiff, Wales
Win Spencer Alton TKO 2 1993-12-16 Newport, Wales
Win Paul Mason TKO 1 1993-11-10 Watford, England
Win Paul Hanlon TKO 1 1993-10-01> Cardiff, Wales

Reigns of Championships

Sanctioning Body and Weight Class Reign Began Reign Ended Time Held
WBA Super Middleweight November 3 2007
WBC Super Middleweight November 3 2007
WBO Super Middleweight October 11 1997 September 26 2008 (Relinquished Title) 131½ months
IBF Super Middleweight March 4 2006 November 27 2006 (Relinquished Title) 8 months
BBBofC Super Middleweight October 28 1995 June 5 1997 (Relinquished Title) 20 months
The Ring Light Heavyweight April 19 2008
The Ring Super Middleweight March 4 2006

See also


External links

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