Joe Calzaghe SIGNED (silver sharpie) Team Calzaghe official merchandise Lonsdale boxing boot.
Joe Calzaghe - Tribute
Joseph William Calzaghe CBE (born 23 March 1972) from Wales who retired undefeated. He was rated by Ring magazine as pound for pound one of the top 10 boxers in the World, He retired in February 2009 with an undefeated record, becoming only the fourth European boxer, after Terry Marsh, Michael Loewe and Sven Ottke, to retire as an undefeated World champion. After his retirement Ricky Hatton, described him as "the best British fighter we've ever had".
Calzaghe is sometimes referred to as the "Pride of Wales", or the "Italian Dragon" in reference to his mixed heritage (the dragon being both a Welsh emblem and a Sardinian myth). He is the former WBO, WBA, WBC, IBF, The Ring Magazine and British super middleweight champion.
Calzaghe is the longest-reigning World champion in recent years, having held the WBO super middleweight title for over ten years until he relinquished the title to concentrate on fighting at light-heavyweight. As his super-middleweight and light-heavyweight reigns overlapped, he retired with the longest continual time as World champion of any active fighter. He is part of the Team Calzaghe based at the Newbridge boxing club.
In 2007, Calzaghe became BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 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. He was also awarded the Young Boxer of the Year Award in 1995.
Joe Calzaghe was the first Ring Magazine Super Middleweigth Champion after his impressive win against undefeated American Jeff Lacy, He also became Ring Magazine Champion in his second weight division after beating future hall of famer Bernard Hopkins for the Light Heavyweight Title, This made Joe a two weight World champion .
Joe has some big wins against former Super Middleweight World champions like WBO Champion Chris Eubank, WBC Champions Robin Reid and Richie Woodhall, IBF Champions Jeff Lacy and Charles Brewer, WBA Champion Byron Mitchell, Current IBO Champion Sakio Bika, Joe beat the then champion Mikkel Kessler for the WBA/WBC Titles. In 2008, he had wins over former WBA/WBO/WBC/IBF/RING Middleweight and RING Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins, and over Roy Jones Jr who has held titles at Middleweight,Super Middle,Light Heavy and even Heavyweight.
Calzaghe was born in Hammersmith, London, to Sardinian Enzo Calzaghe and his Welsh mother Jackie. The family moved to Wales when he was aged two. Their home is at Newbridge in south Wales. He attended Oakdale Comprehensive School and still lives in the area. Calzaghe was the first person to be awarded the Freedom of Caerphilly, his home county, in 2009. The award was presented to Calzaghe in front of his family—dad and trainer Enzo, mam Jackie, sister Sonia, girlfriend Jo-Emma and sons Joe and Connor, 15 and 11 years old respectively at the time.
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 Queen's Birthday Honours.
Calzaghe, a southpaw, began boxing at age nine. In more than 12 amateur contests, he won four schoolboy ABA titles, followed by three consecutive senior British ABA titles (British Championships) between 1991 and 1993. This made him only the second boxer in history to win in welter, light-middleweight and middleweight divisions. He also beat future WBO and IBF World heavyweight champion Chris Byrd as a middleweight in 1992. Calzaghe received his last defeats at the hands of Michael Smyth in the 1990 Welsh ABA final and Romanian amateur Adrian Opreda at the 1990 European Junior Championships in Prague.
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 Lennox Lewis vs. Frank 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. 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 to promote the Roy Jones Jr fight was broken and that Calzaghe owed him $1.4 million; Calzaghe in turn claimed that Warren owed him past fees. In March 2009 the High Court ruled that Warren had persuaded Calzaghe to sign contracts under duress when Calzaghe was hungry and dehydrated preparing for matches and that Warren's company Sports Network Limited owed Calzaghe $2.8 million in unpaid fees. Sports Network Limited intends to appeal the award.
WBO Super Middleweight Champion
A fight against the recently deposed titleholder and British boxing legend Chris Eubank was set up for the vacant WBO title on 11 October 1997, in Sheffield. Calzaghe emerged victorious over the two-time WBO champion, shockingly knocking Eubank down in the opening seconds and 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), Sobot, was a late replacement for American Tarick Salmaci, who pulled out after a row with his management. Sobot was knocked down in the third round, he beat the count but immediately came under renewed punishment from Calzaghe. Forcing the referee to step in at 1:35 of the third round. Calzaghe then went onto fight 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.
The New Millennium
2000 started with another points decision against David Starie. This was followed by wins against Omar Sheika (a fifth-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 Mike Tyson-Brian Nielsen undercard in Copenhagen. Calzaghe dropped the American in the third round with a ferocious left uppercut, although McIntyre managed to survive the count. But the end was near, Calzaghe dropped McIntyre again at the start of the fourth and this time the referee stopped proceedings.
2002 started with points wins against both the former IBF champion Charles Brewer and Miguel Jimenez in Cardiff, followed by a quick TKO of Tocker Pudwill, who took the fight at very short notice as a replacement for the injured Thomas Tate, in Newcastle in December. With the win Calzaghe successfully defended his WBO super-middleweight crown for the 12th time. After the fight, Calzaghe said: "I'm one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the World. I want to be remembered as one of the best British boxers ever."
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 the second round.
2004 started out with a defence against Mger Mkrtchian in Cardiff where he won by 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
Joe Calzaghe vs Jeff Lacy
His scheduled bout with IBF World champion Jeff Lacy for 5 November 2005 was initially canceled due to the break sustained to the metacarpal in his left hand. Warren successfully rescheduled it for 5 March 2006, 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 British fight fans chanting "easy" 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 continue 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 defence.
Fighting 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 second-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 tainted the performance through no fault of his own.
Unifying The Super Middleweight Division
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, surpassing the 20 defences made by Bernard Hopkins and Larry Holmes at middleweight and heavyweight respectively. Only Joe Louis with 25 defences of the undisputed heavyweight title and Dariusz Michalczewski with 23 defences of the WBO light heavyweight title have more defences of a title.
Calzaghe was frequently described as undisputed champion. Since he had relinquished the IBF title, others argued that this was not strictly accurate, Reuters called him "undisputed king" of the division, while David A Avila said he was "the true undisputed World champion. Forget about the IBF titleholder Alejandro Berrio. That’s really Calzaghe’s belt too." The WBA describes as "undisputed champion" those who hold any two of the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titles; which Calzaghe did after beating Kessler, and had earlier done after beating Lacy.
Moving Up 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 a split decision in his first ever fight in the United States. Going into the fight Calzaghe again was a heavy favorite as Hopkins was 43 years old and had lost 2 of his last 4 fights.
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. Hopkins has openly stated that he wants a rematch with Calzaghe but Calzaghe felt he had nothing more to prove and said he'd retire after the meeting with Jones.
Calzaghe vs Jones Jr
On July 8, 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 20, 2008 on HBO PPV. After Calzaghe injured his right hand in training, the "super fight" was postponed, with 8 November being set as the new date. Calzaghe was put down by a right hand in the first round. Two close rounds followed before Calzaghe took control of the fight. In the eighth round, Jones sustained a cut over an eye, nearly forcing a stoppage. The judges' decision was 118-109 for Calzaghe.
On 5 February 2009, Joe Calzaghe announced his retirement from professional boxing, finishing with a record of 46-0, one of the few World Champions to finish undefeated along with Rocky Marciano, Ji Won Kim, Terry Marsh, Michael Loewe, Ricardo Lopez, Pichit Sitbangprachan, Harry Simon and Sven Ottke.
In an interview with GMTV, Calzaghe stated he is promoting The Beat Bullying campaign. He said to have found the inspiration from being a victim of bullying himself when he was young, saying he got bullied because of his small stature.
In August 2009, he was announced as a participant in the seventh series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing series, partnering Russian professional Kristina Rihanoff.
Following his retirement from boxing, Calzaghe started his own boxing promotion company called "Calzaghe Promotions" with his father, Enzo Calzaghe.