Will 2003 be Danish welterweight Thomas Damgaard's year?
By Denzel Ivarsson
01.02 - Danish welterweight Thomas Damgaard, probably the second best fighter of the famous Team Palle stable in Denmark right now, must be looking forward to a big money-fight this year. The Dane who advanced so quickly early on in his pro-career and captured the European junior welterweight title in only his tenth professional bout knocking out Spaniard Jose Manuel Berdonce in the twelfth round of their encounter in Aarhus, Denmark in late November of 1998, has been a target for something big for quite some time now and it would be surprising if 2003 didn't bring something very special to the rugged brawler. The 31- year old fighting machine, as you might remember took that Berdonce fight on short notice replacing countryman, Sören Söndergaard that initially was supposed to have met Berdonce.
Nobody expected that the then very un-experienced Damgaard, that only had just begun his career at the time, should win over the Spaniard, but he did and has belonged to the European elite ever since. The reason to why Damgaard did develop so quickly must lie within the fact that the man had such a long and colourful amateur background to fall back on. Thomas was a five-time Danish amateur champion winning his first national title at lightweight back in 1991 and the rest at junior welter between the years 1994 and 1997. The hard man from Denmark tried several times at big international championships for Denmark but came short of medals each time. He boxed at two World championships, 1995 (Berlin) and 1997 (Budapest) and represented his country at home in the European championships in Vejle, Denmark in 1996. The Vejle tournament was also a qualifier for the Atlanta Olympics but strangely enough Damgaard didn't make the team.
Thomas does have a Nordic title in the amateur ranks to show for though! He snatched home that gold medal back in 1992, so it's fair to say that he wasn't unfamiliar with big events coming into that European title fight in 1998! We probably shouldn't have been as surprised as we were, but the Danes shocking upset win over World class fighter Khalid Rahilou of France the following year sure took us by surprise and cemented the Danes name in Danish boxing history. Damgaard came into the fight a clear underdog, but showed the fans in Copenhagen what a powerful boxer he is, knocking the widely more experienced challenger out in the fourth round. Now nineteen fights later which has included victories over such respectable opponents as Philip Holiday, Alessandro Duran, Humberto Aranda, Greg Haugen, Peter Malinga and Wilfredo Ruiz to mention a few of the very best, this remarkable boxer must be closing in on a major World title fight! He has with out a doubt proven that he got the necessary tools required. 2003 must be the year something big happens for Damgaard. He has earned it through hard work and should be rewarded!