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Joe Calzaghe - the story of a legend
Born this day in 1972 - we look at the life and times of Joe Calzaghe
Posted Mar 23, 2011 by Legends
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On this day in 1972, Joseph William Calzaghe was brought into the world at Hammersmith Hospital in London. Joe’s father was Italian and his mother Welsh which meant over the years he has inherited the title of both the “Pride of Wales” and the “Italian Dragon”.
The Calzaghe family moved back to Wales when Joe was two years old and it was in his hometown of Newbridge where a young Joseph began his boxing career at the tender age of nine taking part in over 12 amateur contests. Rated as one of the world’s greatest pound for pound boxers by both the BBC and Ring magazine, Calzaghe enjoyed an illustrious career and retired at his peak taking the stance that it is better to quit whilst you’re ahead and go out in a blaze of glory than forever be remembered as a has-been.
Calzaghe turned pro in 1993 at the age of 21 when he signed up with Terry Lawless and Mickey Duff and made his professional debut at Cardiff Arms Park. By 1995, things were going well for the Pride of Wales with nine professional fights to his name and nine wins under his belt. At the end of 1995, Calzaghe got his first big win taking the British title from Steve Wilson. 1997 saw one of Calzaghe’s most famous fights against Chris Eubank in Sheffield which saw the Italian Dragon crowned the WBO Super Middleweight Champion.
Calzaghe took down the rock solid Eubank in a matter of seconds in the opening round of the bout. Like many of the world’s top boxers, at some point or another they pass through the stable of legendary promoter Frank Warren, Calzaghe was no exception. Warren had high hopes for the Welsh boxer describing Joe as the boxer of the new millennium.
After twelve years under Warren, Calzaghe split from the legendary promoter and declared that he would represent himself for the remaining fights of his career. The split ignited a court battle with Warren claiming Calzaghe owed his company millions of pounds and Calzaghe claims that Warren’s company Sports Network Limited owed him over £2.8million in unpaid fight fees. The High Court ruled in Calzaghe’s favour in March 2009 but Sports Network and Frank Warren intend to appeal the court ruling.
Calzaghe’s final fight was held in New York City against American boxer Roy Jones Jr. The light heavyweight championship fight ended in a points victory for Calzaghe.
When Calzaghe retired in February 2009 he remained undefeated in the ring and to this day is one of only four European boxers to retire as an undefeated world champion. Terry Marsh, Michael Loewe and Sven Ottke being the others.
In life after boxing he was fronted an anti-bullying campaign, been a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, founded his own boxing promotions company and sadly became embroiled in a cocaine scandal which erupted after undercover journalists from the News of the World ousted the boxing legend for using the drug.