Vincenzo Mangiacapre of Italy is a guy who is going to be a very interesting proposition as a pro, because it is readily apparent that he marches to the beat of his own drummer in the ring, and should attract a lot of fans because of the way he goes about his business.
If he can add an Olympic gold medal to his resume, he’ll be even more marketable.
Mangiacapre is rated the #4 light welterweight in the world by AIBA (international Boxing Association) and is also the fourth seed in the tournament. He’s still waiting for a huge breakthrough; at last year’s World Amateur Championships he won a bronze medal, and then he had the misfortune of coming up against the eventual champion, Everton Lopes, in the semifinals and was beaten by a decisive 16-7 verdict.
Interestingly enough, he was unseeded in that event, while his Saturday opponent, Gyula Kate of Hungary, was the #3 seed. It looked anything but that in the London bout, with Mangiacapre simply leaving Kate swinging at air most of the time.
It’s not like the 30-year-old Kate is without accomplishment; indeed, he has won two EU Amateur titles, the World University Championships, and bronze medals in two different World Amateur Championships. He is ranked tenth in the world by AIBA. And he was in his third Games, having achieved his first Olympic win over Eslam Mohamed of Egypt in opening round action.
But he wasn’t able to get very much going, and simply couldn’t get through to his opponent. Mangiacapre, who is obviously influenced a great deal by Roy Jones Jr. He holds his hands down, moves in and out, exhibits good head movement, shoots punches from all angles and adds something Jones didn’t do – the ability to switch almost seamlessly from the orthodox stance to southpaw and back. To echo the statements made by NBC announcers Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas, no one would suggest he is in the class of Jones. But there is no denying that Mangiacapre has a lot of natural talent.
He also has a storied Italian boxing figure in his corner. Francesco Damiani was a silver medalist for Italy in the 1984 Olympics, and went on to become the WBO heavyweight champion.
His style, however, didn’t quite match that of the flashy Mangiacapre, who won the rounds by scores of 6-3, 6-5 and 8-6 and moves on to the next round, where he will take on Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov. That takes place on Wednesday, and Yeleussinov will have from now and then to figure out how to take advantage of the openings Mangiacapre leaves in his guard.