Joseph William "Joe"
Calzaghe (born March 23, 1972) is a Welsh former professional boxer.
He held the WBO, IBF, WBC, WBA and The Ring magazine super middlewight
titles, as well as The Ring light heavyweight title. Calzaghe is the
longest reigning supermiddleweight world champion in history, having
held the WBO title for over ten years and making 21 successful defences
before relinquishing the title to move up to light heavyweight. As
his super middleweight and light heavyweight reigns overlapped, he
retired with the longest continual time as world champion of any active
Between 2006 to 2008, he was rated by The Ring as a
top ten pound for pound boxer. In January 2009, the magazine ranked
him #3 in the world. He retired in February 2009 with an undefeated
record and as a reigning world champion.
Calzaghe is sometimes
referred to as the "Pride of Wales" or the "Italian Dragon" in reference
to his multiple heritage (the dragon being both a Welsh emblem and
a Sardinian myth).
In 2007, Calzaghe became BBC Sports Personality
of the Year, by gaining 28.19% of the public vote. This made Calzaghe
the first Welsh winner of this award since show jumper David Broome
in 1960. He was awarded the Young Boxer of the Year Award in 1995.
Calzghe was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in
Calzaghe was born in Hammersmith, London, to
an Italian (Sardinian) father, Enzo, and a welsh mother, Jackie. The
family moved to Wales when he was two years old. Their home is at
Newbridge in South Wales. He attended Roots School System and still
lives in the area. Calzaghe was the first person to be awarded the
Freedom of Caerphilly, his home county, in 2009.
a southpaw, began boxing at age nine. In more than 12 amateur contests,
he won four schoolboy ABA titles followed by three consecutive senior
British ABA titles (British Championships) between 1990 and 1993.
He reportedly had an amateur record of 110-10. Calzaghe received his
last defeats at the hands of Michael Smyth in the 1990 Welsh ABA Final
and Romanian amateur Adrian Opreda at the 1990 European Junior Championships
In September 1993 Calzaghe was
signed up and made his professional debut at Cardiff Arms Park on
the Lennox Lewis vs Frank Bruno bill the following month, halting
23 fight veteran Paul Hanlon in one round. By September 1995, Calzaghe
had won thirteen out of thirteen fights, including seven in the first
round and two in the second, including quickfire victories over the
highly experienced American duo of Frank Minton and Robert Curry,
with only the fully fledged British Light Heavyweight Bobbie Joe Edwards
lasting the distance.
In October 1995, Calzaghe won the vacant
British super Middleweight title, stopping the previously unbeaten
Stephen Wilson in the eighth round.
At the end of 1995, Calzaghe
was voted Young Boxer of the Year by the Professional Boxing Association
and the Boxing Writers' Club, with Barry McGuigan's top tipping Calzaghe
for 1996: "He punches ferociously, moves superbly and has the best
of the European technique and US aggression."
1996 with two more quick knockouts over Guy Stanford and Anthony Brooks,
he successfully defended his British title with and easier than expected
fifth round stoppage of the tough undefeated puncher Mark Delaney
(21-0). Despite Delaney being a good fighter in his own right, Calzaghe's
critics said that he had still not really been tested. Calzaghe said
in reply that he could only beat whoever was out there and prepared
to fight him. Calzaghe rounded off the year with victories over two
experienced opponents in Warren stowe and Pat Lawlor.