Duilio Loi, History's forgotten great

15.11.05 - By Khalid Mohamed - 115-3-8 26 KO's - Like most people the name Duilio Loi doesn't ring any bells I was one of them, I accedently bumped into his name looking at the recent Hall of Fame inductees after checking out guys like Barry McGuigan and Bobby Chacon I looked and Duilio Loi, when I saw his record I was suprised thinking to myself ''why haven't I heard of him before?'' he fought 126 fights and had a record of 115-3-8 26 KO's, four titles under his reign he is certainly underrated. He fought from 1948 to 1962. He was a nearly unbeatable as the Italian and European lightweight champion from 1952-1960 and European Welterweight and World Light Welterweight champion from 1959-1962, a ginuinly talented boxer with an unstoppable will to win, most fighters avoided him like the plague.

Though most of his competition was not championship level Loi did fight Jorgen Johansen twice, Fortunato Manca, Eddie Perkins three times and the highly talent Hall of Famer Carlos Ortiz three times.. Loi a southpaw employed an awkward but effective defense with an aggressive bobbing and weaving style of fighting, a solid left hand, crafty ring skills, iron chin and insane stamina all mixed with a good package of punches, never tasted the canvas once in 126 fights. He didn't really have one punch KO power but his aggressive smothering opponents with punches style and ring craft made up for that, he rather racked up the points, now aged 76 living in Milan his style and both offensive and defensive skills in the ring along with his aprochable and engaging personality had endeared him to his countrymen giving him the nickname ''King of Milano'' he is considered one of the best Italian fighters of all time.

Born on April 19th 1929 in Trieste, Northern Italy, he grew up during the war, at aged 19 and now fighting out of Milan he turned Pro in 1948 and quickly racked up a 18 fight winning streak before getting a title fight against Luigi Malè winning the Italian Lightweight title. He defended the title twice and kept on racking up victories of 37-0 until he met Jorgen Johansen in '52 for a shot for the European Lightweight Title, a tough Dane coming to the end of his career but still had a decent record of 25-3-2 who outpointed the young Loi on their first encounter. After defending his Italian Lightweight a furthermore two times he had his rematch against Johansen in '54 who he outpointed and was crowned European Lightweight champion. Loi won a further 72 fights racking his record up to an impressive 110-1-7 22 KO's defending his European Lightweight and Welterweight titles 13 times in 8 years, he even defended one of his titles two days after being in a car crash!

He gave up his Italian Title to concentrate on the European Lightweight title, later moving up to capture the Welterweight title in '59.

Loi fought the talented Puerto Rican Carlos Ortiz on June 15th 1960 in San Francisco, after a hard fought fight he loosed a close and contriversial decision by SD, three months later Loi and Ortiz squared off again this time for the World Light Welterweight crown in the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Loi won the world title with a hard fought decision over Ortiz in front of 65,000 hometown fans. After one more title defense Loi and Ortiz squared off again for the third and final time once again in the San Siro Stadium knocking down Ortiz in the 6th, Loi won by UD.

In 61' he then took on the 24 year old also underrated slick counterpuncher American Eddie Perkins who fought him to a contriversial draw but still retained his belt. After defending his title against the undefeated Fortunato Manca who had a record of 56-0-3 22KO's he took on Eddie Perkins for the second time, this time Perkins figured out how to beat him lossed his title by UD, a month later aged 33 on December 15 1963 and for the third and final time he decisively won his title back from Perkins and retired as champion ending 14 years in the ring.

He defended his titles from the Italian Championship from 1950-1955, European Lightweight championship from 1954-1958, European Welterweight Championship from 1959-1962 loosing and re-gaining the title and Light Welterweight Championship from 1961-1962 loosing and re-gaining the title, then retiring still world champion Apart form taking on top fighters like Johansen, Manca, Perkins and Ortiz he also took on top contenders like Billy Collins, Tommy Molloy, Bruno Visintin, Mario Vecchiatto, Piet Van Klaveren, Fernand Nollet, Giancarlo Garbelli, Jacques Herbillon, Seraphin Ferrer, Ernesto Formenti, Emilio Marconi, Svend Wad, Manfred Neuke, Jose Hernandez, Ray Famechon,Guy Gracia, Ernst Zetzman and many others.

Maybe a reason for the lack of recognition of Loi is due to him fighting in the US once or the lack of footage of him but it about time people gave him his due's.

He never ducked anyone, only three losses all avenged, never got knocked down let alone knocked out in 126 fights and defended his titles a total of 25 times loosing and regaining them twice but sad to say he is nearly forgotten by the annuls of boxing, highly underrated and underappreciated, Duilio Loi is up there with some of the best European boxers and World Light Welterweights ever. His induction into the Hall of Fame was long overdue, hopefully this will bring some light onto his impressive career.

Suffering from Alzheimer's Duilio Loi was too sick to pick up the IBHOF inductee ring and instead was accepted by his daughter Bonaria Loi, who gave her thanks in Italian. "My father is not here, but his heart is here,"

"Only three losses. That certainly speaks to his ability in the ring," Edward Brophy, Boxing hall of fame Executive Director

"Duilio Loi compiled a phenomenal record competing against the elite of his division. One of the greatest boxers his country produced, he was never an easy mark for any opposition he ever faced. A most worthy entry into the Hall of Fame." Hank Kaplan, boxing historian.

"What a great addition to the Hall of Fame. Duilio Loi was like a monarch in Italy. He could really fight. Very smart, very slick, very talented and made good fights." Angelo Dundee

Duilio is still involved in boxing and is president of the 'Federazione Autonoma sindacato ex Pugili' which is a Federation for Retired Boxers and is still affectionately called ''King of Milano''

Article posted on 15.11.2005

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