The five-fight Elite international, the first of two fight nights this week, ended 3-0 in favour of the Italians after some curious calls by the Italian referees and judges.
Drawn bouts, ignored knockdowns, and multiple point deductions all conspired to see Ireland lose on the night despite having the better of the majority of the bouts in Torre Annunziata.
First up was Limerick welter Paddy Donovan and the highly-rated teen dominated Francisco Magri, hurting the Italian champ to the body in the first and dropping him with a sharp shot at the end of the third – which the referee ruled a slip.
It looked to have been a comfortable win to start the night off for Ireland but Magri was deemed the winner, much to Donovan and the Irish coaching team’s disgust.
Next up was Dublin bantam Jordan Moore against Orlando Russo. The wild Italian probably took the opener but Glasnevin’s Moore came back strong with well-timed right hands in the second before taking over in the third.
In one of the most bizarre portions of the night, Moore knocked Russo down with a heavy bodyshot, leaving the southpaw writhing on the canvas. The referee, however, warned Moore for this, stating that the shot which put Russo down was with the inside of the glove. After allowing Russo to recover from the knockdown the bout resumed and Moore went straight back to the body and was immediately penalised two points by the referee for hitting with the inside of his glove.
With two losses on the board, it was up to Dublin heavyweight Kirill Afanasev to keep the bout alive and he looked to have done so against the experienced Francesco Rossano, wrestling his way on top in an entertaining slugfest.
However, the bout was ruled a draw – a result which is meant to be impossible in amateur boxing. Afanasev, knowing who won, did literal handstands in the ring following the verdict before stepping over the top rope.
The super heavyweights and Dubliner Thomas Carty were up next. The Glasnevin big man lost a scrappy encounter to Italian champ Mirko Carbotti which sealed the home side’s win overall. Again, though, there was controversy with Carty being harshly deducted points for pulling Carbotti’s head down.
Finally there was the international debut of Eugene McKeever and the Newry fighter outboxed Joshua Boateng. With McKeever countering him at every turn, the Italian resorted to swinging wildly and having a point deducted for a dangerous shot to the back of the head in the second. In the midst of a dominant third round, McKeever was then docked a point for use of the head, perhaps harshly considering his unorthodox opponent.
The fight was ruled a draw, of course. Boateng seemed to acknowledge McKeever had won the bout, presenting him with his medal and holding the ropes open for him.