Domenico "Volcano" Spada: The boxer who fights under the Roma flag
"I will climb into the ring with the Roma flag, no Italian flag and no national anthem," said Domenico "Volcano“ Spada, a Romani boxer from Italy, just before the 5 April match in which he challenged Marco Antonio Rubio for the World Middleweight title. "I will have them play the Romani song 'Cintia' by Santino Spinelli."
Spada's sharp public declarations underlined that he wanted to enter the ring without any Italian official symbols to protest against the way he believes Italy has betrayed him. There were several reasons for his provocation.
Spada told La Repubblica last fall that it is difficult to organize boxing matches in Italy because it is not easy to find the money for them and there is a lack of attention to the sport. The problem is not just about organization, but in his case, discrimination.
"I do not like ignorant people who are disrespectful of other people's cultures. When I hear the word 'gypsy' pronounced with anger, accompanied by vulgarity and denigrating tones, I get blinded by rage. These words hurt more then punches," the boxer said.
Spada's stance immediately resounded on Facebook, giving birth to blogs in his support, and was quickly echoed by several press agencies. His battle has turned out to be a bigger one than expected, as it aims to raise public attention not only about the struggle faced by many Roma against injustice and prejudice, but also about the specific case of Italian Roma, a group who have been living in Italy for centuries and are an integral part of Italian history and society, contributing toward increasing Italy's pride abroad through sports.
Spada, aka Volcano, does not represent the stereotypical icon of the violent boxer, but is a guy who has worked hard at different jobs (even in a hair salon) to help his modest family and turned out to be a promising athlete. Now, as a boxer/champion, he wants to serve as an example to bring the discrimination faced by Roma at every level to public attention.
As an Italian Rom, Spada also wants to bring to public attention to the fact that he is not the only Rom to have made such contributions - in fact, his larger Romani-Italian family has given a great deal to the country and the flag. His cousins are the boxers Michele Di Rocco (World Champion), Pasquale Di Silvio (former Italian champion), and Romolo Casamonica, who represented Italy in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Domenico Spada, aka "Volcano", is an Italian Rom born in 1980 in Rome. He is a middleweight boxer and owns a gym called "Volcano".
At the age of 13 Domenico met his trainer, Eugenio Agnuzzi. In March 1996 he debuted as a cadet in the Italian national championship, where he acquired his first experiences in the ring.
Between 1996 and 2001 (as an amateur) he was three times Italian Champion and won four gold medals with the Italian National Boxing Team. At the age of 22, Domenico became a professional boxer and just two years later won his first Junior IBF World Title.
He then had to defend his accomplishment by fighting the Russian boxer Bouchev in March 2005. In 2006 he was declared the Italian Middleweight Champion when he defeated Lombardi.
On 15 December 2006 Domenico fought against the German boxer Karagol at the Alsterdorf Sporthalle in Hamburg and won the International WBC Title. Immediately afterward he decided to also challenge the EU Champion, Mahir Oral.
That match also took place in Hamburg, but the result was not bright for Spada, who lost despite his efforts, good performance and skills. He then defended the International WBC Title in Berlin by fighting a Turkish boxer named Aguzum.
Aguzum had an excellent personal record (34 wins, three losses), but Volcano defeated him immediately. Aguzum was knocked out at the very beginning of the first round after one minute.
Spada also won against Patrik Hruška of the Czech Republic (22 December 2007), the Belgian boxer Jamel Bahki (15 December 2008), and the supposedly undefeatable Polish champion Marius Cendrowski (1 July 2008). He knocked out Czech boxer Roman Vanický in the third round (2 December 2008) and defeated the Slovak boxer Blazo in Ancona, Italy (25 April 2009) in the fifth.
Just three months later Volcano faced Sebastian Zbik in Germany for the WBC Middleweight Interim Title (11 July 2009). After a 12-round fight, the judges declared Zbik the official winner.
Spada knocked out the Hungarian boxer Nagy after 59 seconds on 5 February 2010, but lost again to Sebastian Zbik for the World Title (17 April 2010). In the re-entry match he faced Jozsef Matolcsi (30 July 2010), who had a personal record of 39 matches with 26 wins (and 18 knockouts) and was the Super-Welterweight WBF World Champion - Spada won the match on points.
Volcano is considered a clever, powerful, tough boxer with a terrific left hook. His professional career has been very challenging, full of successes that have not always been given enough importance or proper attention by the media or the boxing federations.
Spada has not only opened a gym called "Volcano" in Marino, he has received an award from Muhammad Ali and Don King, an accomplishment that many might consider unbelievable. More information about him is available on his website, www.domenicospada.com
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