By Ezio Prapotnich
So far, the build up to the April 30 scheduled bout between former belt holder Darren Barker (22-0, 14 kos) and ex Italian champion Domenico “Vulcano” Spada (32-3, 16 ko’s) for the vacant European Middleweight title has been exclusively a celebration of Barker’s return to the ring under Matchroom Sport banner after an year of forced inactivity.
Make no mistakes: Darren is deserving of the attention and also of the exposure he will get from a 3 fights deal with Sky sports. But, in spite of being a legitimate contender, Domenico Spada, who has the ungrateful task of replacing Matthew Macklin, seems to have been already written off by the British fans and pundits. Spada’s career highlights have been his two fights with Sebastian Zbik, both of whichhe lost by decision, the first a rather questionable one, on Zbik home ground, but the German WBC Interim champion, who is about to face Chavez Jr for the full title, ranks above any of Barker’s opponents so far, including Belghecham, from whom he won the European belt last year.
Darren’s plan for 2011 is to win the EBU belt, defend it once, then challenge for a world title.
Well, Domenico has plans too, and very different ones…
BOXINGINSIDER: Besides winning the Italian title in 2006, your most important fights happened in Germany, where you both won and, more or less deservedly, lost. How do you feel about facing Barker on his home soil? Do you fear to be treated unfairly?
DOMENICO SPADA: No, I am happy to fight in the UK. The British professional scene is the best in the world at the moment, there are a lot of good fighters there. I am confident the “home” factor will not influence the verdict.
BI: All your fellow Italian fighters that came to the UK to fight for EBU belts in the last year and the half, namely Vidoz, Brancalion, Branco, Messi, and Bracco, lost fair and square. Do you feel pressure on you to win this fight?
DS: With respect to them, I am none of the above. I am Domenico Spada.
BI: Did you study your opponent? How do you rate him?
DS: He is good, but let’s make clear I am not impressed by anyhting I read and saw. I am coming to fight. To win, precisely.
BI: Have you been focusing on something in particular that you think might be your asset to victory? Speed, power, defense etc. etc.?
DS: In a match of this stature, there is nothing that can beoverlooked in favor of something else. I have been working on everything.
BI: You have gained this chance as a consequence of Matthew Macklin’s sudden withdrawal. Who would have been the winner in a match between him and Barker?
DS: It’s irrelevant. I am going to beat Barker and that’s all that matters.
BI: After being on the verge of a world title chance, do you see the European title as a set back for your career or as a stepping stone?
DS: It’s an important title that is missing on my record and it will propel me back to world level, in my opinion. My ultimate goal is to become world champion.
BI: What’s your prediction on the WBC challenge between your former foe Zbik and Chavez Jr?
DS: I think it’s a balanced match, but I favour Zbik to pull it.
BI: What can you tell us about the state of professional boxing in Italy at the moment?
DS: Italian professional boxing is in agony at the moment. The lack of funds and television support force all of us to look for our chances abroad, where we often get ripped off.
BI: Are you able to support yourself with your purses or do you need a day job?
DS: I work, like every pro fighter in Italy. I am a sport commentator.
BI: Do you think your career would have gone further if you had moved and developed abroad?
DS: Not exactly. What I honestly feel is that if Italy was a bigger player on the international boxing scene and offered me the chance to dispute the biggest matches of my career in front of a jury that would judge me fairly, I would not only be still undefeated, but probably a world champion already.
It is fair to say that Barker has not really been tested yet above domestic level and his fight with Belghecham last year was closer that some of the judges saw it. Is Spada been unfairly underrated? Will his experience prove too much and spoil the show?
We will find out on April the 30.
Venue and tickets price are yet to be announced.
For info, contact Matchroom Sport at:
+44 1277 359900 or [email protected]
(Photo Credit: Alberto Germinario)