Enzo Calzaghe

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Enzo Calzaghe
Statistics
Nationality Italian
Born (1949-01-01)1 January 1949
Sassari, Italy
Died 17 September 2018(2018-09-17) (aged 69)
United Kingdom

Enzo Calzaghe, MBE (1 January 1949 – 17 September 2018)[1] was an Italian-born Welsh boxing trainer. He was the father of Joe Calzaghe and the head trainer for Team Calzaghe at the Newbridge boxing club. He, along with son Joe, was a co-founder of Calzaghe Promotions.

Early life[edit]

Calzaghe was born and raised in Bancali, a hamlet of Sassari, in the Italian island of Sardinia.[1] He moved at the age of two, with his family, to Bedfordshire.[1][2] Whilst there he attended school alongside Hungarian-born Joe Bugner, who would later become a European heavyweight champion boxer.[2] Calzaghe's father taught him to box to protect himself from school bullies.[2] The family returned to Italy when Calzaghe was 13 and whilst there he tried to make a career as a footballer - at one point he played on the same team as Gianfranco Zola.[2][1] Calzaghe said of his early life: "Where I come from, in Sardinia, boys like me either became waiters, boxers or footballers. Well, I didn’t end up as any of them – although I’ve had a go at most".[2]

Travelling across Europe[edit]

Calzaghe played the bass guitar for his uncle's band 'Survival'. He was conscripted into the Italian Air Force at the age of 19 and immediately found a place in their Milan football team, where he spent much of the next two years.[2] Upon completing his national service in 1969, Calzaghe decided to travel around Europe, making money as a busker. He hitch-hiked from one city to the next for the next couple of years, often sleeping rough in city squares and phone-boxes.[1][3][2] After being abandoned by a travelling companion in Amsterdam he traded his ring for a passage on a tomato ship to Whitstable, from where he travelled to Bournemouth where his aunt ran a restaurant.[1][4][3] His aunt had sold the business to return to Italy but convinced the new owner to take him on as an employee.[3] Calzaghe worked at the restaurant during the day and slept there at night, in order to save up enough money to go back home to Sardinia. He saved the cash but, when he got to Southampton station, the tannoy announced a train to Cardiff was due. In Calzaghe's words: "Sod going home, let's try Cardiff".[3]

In Cardiff Calzaghe found work at a Wimpy where he fell in love with a waitress, Jackie, who would become his wife just four weeks later.[3][1] They moved in with Jackie's parents in Markham before getting a house near Blackwood that was near to a boxing gym.[3] Calzaghe was, at the time, working variously as a bus conductor and window salesman whilst also playing in bands with his brothers.[3][1]

Boxing[edit]

Whilst in Cardiff, Calzaghe got involved in the local boxing gym and met Paul Williams, who was trainer of the Newbridge boxing club.[3] Williams invited Calzaghe to bring Calzaghe's son Joe along as he was being bullied at school.[3][1] Joe became a regular at the gym and Calzaghe became Paul's assistant trainer." Williams retired when Joe was 18 and Enzo took over the gym, which he ran until 2002.[3][1] Calzaghe also won 'Coach of the Year' at the BBC Sports Personality awards, The Ring magazine trainer of the year for 2007,[5] and the Futch–Condon Award, awarded by the Boxing Writers Association of America, for Trainer of the Year 2007. He effectively retired from coaching in 2008, though his gym continued.[1]

Legacy and death[edit]

A special ceremony was arranged for Calzaghe to be awarded an MBE in Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly in 2010, presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, Simon Boyle, because Calzaghe was unable to attend the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. [6] A bridge has been named in honour of Enzo and Joe in their home town of Newbridge.[1] As well as Joe, Enzo had two daughters named Sonia and Melissa.[1] He died on 17 September 2018, after a series of rumours regarding his health and false reports of his death on the preceding days.[7]

Fighters trained[edit]

Nationality Name Weight Division(s) Titles held Reference
Wales Joe Calzaghe Super-Middleweight and Light Heavyweight BBBofC, WBO, WBA, WBC and IBF Super-Middleweight belts. The Ring Light-Heavyweight belt. [8]
Wales Italy Enzo Maccarinelli Cruiserweight WBU, WBO, and EBU belts. [8]
Wales Gavin Rees Featherweight - Light Welterweight WBO Inter-continental Featherweight, BBBoC Lightweight belt. WBA Light-Welterweight World Champion. [8]
Wales Nathan Cleverly Light-Heavyweight Commonwealth, BBBoC, EBU, WBO [4]
Wales Bradley Pryce Super-Featherweight - Light-Middleweight WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title, BBBoC Welterweight, WBU Light-Middleweight, Commonwealth Light-Middleweight, [8]
Wales Gary Lockett Middleweight [8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Obituary: Legendary boxing trainer Enzo Calzaghe". BBC Sport. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rhys, Steffan (17 September 2018). "Enzo Calzaghe: From a Valleys gym to one of the greatest in the world". walesonline. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Boxing: Enzo's amazing journey". Walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b Fraser, Dave (17 September 2018). "Enzo Calzaghe dead at 69: Boxing trainer and dad of Joe has passed away, his family have announced". The Sun. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Enzo Calzaghe set to retire as son rejects Hopkins rematch". Talk Boxing.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Enzo Calzaghe collects MBE - Caerphilly Observer". Caerphillyobserver.co.uk. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  7. ^ Doran, Niall (17 September 2018). "Joe Calazghe's Father Enzo Calzaghe Passes Away Aged 69 – Boxing World Tributes Pour In". Boxing News and Views. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Boxing: Enzo and Joe: father-and-son team who are a knockout combination". Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2018.

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