Pedraza finds success as southpaw


Olympic and world super heavyweight champion Roberto Cammarelle
of Italy was far too good for Rok Urbank of Slovenia

Bantamweight John Joe Nevin is the descendant of Irish Travellers who, as depicted in the Guy Ritchie movie "Snatch", were famous bare-knuckle boxers.

However, young Joe wears a pair of boxing gloves to beat his opponents, like Iderkhuu Enkhjargal of Mongolia, who had overcome European champion Luke Campbell of England previously. The 20-year-old Irishman beat Enkhjargal 10-4, then declined to talk to reporters saying he is superstitious and giving an interview would be a bad omen before the quarter-finals of the AIBA World Championships in Milan.

Lightweight José Pedraza of Puerto Rico might be superstitious, too, but he had no problem talking to the media after his hard-fought 6-5 victory over Ljubomir Marjanovic of Serbia. The 20-year-old from the capital San Juan came back from a two-point deficit in one of the toughest matches of the tournament so far.

"Marjanovic is a tremendous boxer who punches extremely hard," said Pedraza. "On top of this he is a southpaw, which is always a big advantage. I started out cold and it took me almost two rounds to reach top gear. The turning point was in the third round when I shifted my stance from orthodox to southpaw.

"After this win I am very, very optimistic, I feel as if the sky were the limit. Of course, my goal is the gold medal, but there is a minor problem: the rest of the field has the same desire." Pedraza's idols are two famous professional world champions from Puerto Rico: Ivan Calderón and Miguel Coto. He is confident that one day he too will be the idol of many young boxers from the Caribbean island.

Home boy Roberto Cammarelle did not have the most exciting and thrilling boxing match in history against Rok Urbanc of Slovenia, but what he did was more than enough to beat his opponent by a huge margin. At one point the referee urged the two boxers to trade punches, but the generally slow tempo of the match did not change much. However Cammarelle's dominance was quite clear, and he proceeded to the quarter-finals with a well earned 14-0 victory.