Mario D'Agata

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Mario D'Agata
Mario D Agata 1955 2.jpg
Mario D'Agata c. 1955
Statistics
Weight(s)Bantamweight
Height1.57 m (5 ft 2 in)
Nationality Italy
Born29 May 1926
Arezzo, Italy
Died4 April 2009 (aged 82)
Florence, Italy
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights67
Wins54
Wins by KO22
Losses10
Draws3

Mario D'Agata (29 May 1926 – 4 April 2009) was an Italian professional boxer, who was the first, and so far only, deaf world champion in boxing. He was a lineal, European, and Italian bantamweight champion.

Early life[edit]

D'Agata was born on 29 May 1926, in Arezzo, Italy. He had a tough childhood as a consequence of his disabilities, the victim of taunting from fellow school children. Feeling the need to prove himself equal, he resorted to street fighting as a way to demonstrate his equality. D'Agata was one of three children (out of seven) to be born deaf in his family. His parents moved him from Tuscany to Rome at an early age, hoping to find doctors who would cure him.

One afternoon he noticed a poster of a boxer adorning the door to a boxing gym. Upon entering he was enamored with how the boxers practiced their fighting in a polished, stylized way. D'Agata was drawn into boxing from that moment on. Due to the outbreak of the Second World War, however, D'Agata had to wait until he was 20 years old to fight as an amateur. In 1946, he began an amateur career that saw him win 90 out of 110 bouts.

Professional career[edit]

On 14 October 1950, D'Agata turned professional, defeating Giuseppe Saladari by a decision in six rounds. He built a record of 10–0 with 1 knockout before suffering his first loss, at the hands of Romolo Re, 2 August 1951, by a decision in ten. Another loss to Re would follow, but D'Agata was able to build a 19–3–2 record with 4 knockouts before challenging for the Italian bantamweight title, on 26 September 1953, beating Gianni Zuddas by a disqualification in round nine to claim the belt. After five more wins, he travelled to Tunisia, where he met the future world champion Robert Cohen, losing a ten-round decision. After two more wins, he embarked on what would have been a long tour of Australia, a trip cut short after three wins when he was shot by his associate.

D'Agata then returned to Italy, where he was no longer recognized as champion. On 25 May 1955, he defeated Arthur Emboule by decision in eight rounds, in his first bout after the shooting. After eight more wins in a row (which raised his winning streak to a total of thirteen wins in a row), he was given a shot at the European bantamweight title by Andre Valignat on 29 October of the same year, and he defeated Valignat by a fifth round disqualification.[1]

On 29 June 1956, D'Agata finally received his world title opportunity, when former conqueror Cohen gave him a chance to win the world bantamweight title in Rome.[2] D'Agata made his dream come true by knocking Cohen out in six rounds in front of 38,000 fans, many of whom rushed to the ring the moment the fight was over, carrying D'Agata out of the ring on their arms. With that win, D'Agata made history as the first deaf world champion of boxing.

D'Agata went to Paris to defend his title for the first time, on 1 April 1957, against local challenger Alphonse Halimi. Special lights had been set specially for this fight, so that D'Agata, who could not hear the bell after each round, would be able to tell when each round was finished. These lights would flash the moment the bell rang. There was a storm on the day of the fight, which was held in an open-air area. Lightning struck one of the special lights in round three, and D'Agata was struck by sparkles, suffering a burned neck and back. It was decided the fight would go on, and D'Agata tried to defy the odds for the remaining of the fight, but he lost the title by a fifteen-round decision.

D'Agata never received a rematch from Halimi. He then fought on with mixed success, until 1 August 1962, when he announced his retirement. He was able to stay away from boxing for the rest of his life.

Legacy[edit]

D'Agata became an example to many in his native Italy, where some boxing fans still regard him as a hero. In addition to enduring disabilities, he also survived an attempt on his life before becoming a world champion, after being shot in the chest by a business partner in Australia, on 12 February 1955. This cost him a shot at the world bantamweight title, at the time held by Raul Macias.[3]

Professional boxing record[edit]

67 fights 54 wins 10 losses
By knockout 22 1
By decision 27 8
By disqualification 5 1
Draws 3
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round,time Date Age Location Notes
67 Loss 54–10–3 Federico Scarponi PTS 12 Jul 19, 1962 36 years, 51 days Roma, Italy For vacant Italy bantamweight title
66 Win 54–9–3 Andre Gasperini PTS 8 Mar 27, 1962 35 years, 302 days PalaLido, Milan, Italy
65 Win 53–9–3 Ugo Milan TKO 6 (8) Jan 19, 1962 35 years, 235 days Palazzetto dello Sport, Roma, Italy
64 Win 52–9–3 Francisco Carreno PTS 8 Nov 24, 1961 35 years, 179 days Palazzetto dello Sport, Roma, Italy
63 Win 51–9–3 Lazaro ben Layachi KO 6 (8) Oct 27, 1961 35 years, 151 days Palazzetto dello Sport, Roma, Italy
62 Loss 50–9–3 Jackie Brown PTS 10 Jun 9, 1960 34 years, 11 days Firhill Park, Glasgow, Scotland
61 Loss 50–8–3 Freddie Gilroy PTS 10 Sep 15, 1959 33 years, 109 days Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England
60 Loss 50–7–3 José Becerra RTD 10 (12) Feb 5, 1959 32 years, 252 days Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
59 Loss 50–6–3 Piero Rollo PTS 15 Oct 12, 1958 32 years, 136 days Stadio Amsicora, Cagliari, Italy Lost EBU and Italy bantamweight titles
58 Win 50–5–3 Mimoun Ben Ali PTS 10 Sep 13, 1958 32 years, 107 days Cagliari, Italy
57 Win 49–5–3 Michel Lamora KO 4 (10) Feb 13, 1958 31 years, 260 days Napoli, Italy
56 Win 48–5–3 Roger Cappato PTS 10 Dec 26, 1957 31 years, 211 days Palazzo dello Sport (Pad. 3 Fiera), Milan, Italy
55 Win 47–5–3 Jean Renard KO 7 (10) Dec 10, 1957 31 years, 195 days Teatro Duse, Bergamo, Italy
54 Win 46–5–3 Federico Scarponi KO 8 (15), 2:30 Oct 27, 1957 31 years, 151 days Stadio Amsicora, Cagliari, Italy Won vacant EBU bantamweight title
53 Win 45–5–3 Roland Roy TKO 7 (10) Jun 28, 1957 31 years, 30 days Cornigliano Stadio del Littorio, Genoa, Italy
52 Loss 44–5–3 Alphonse Halimi PTS 15 Apr 1, 1957 30 years, 307 days Palais des Sports, Paris, France Lost NYSAC and The Ring bantamweight titles
51 Draw 44–4–3 Robert Tartari PTS 10 Dec 8, 1956 30 years, 193 days Palais des Expositions, Geneva, Switzerland
50 Win 44–4–2 Juan Cardenas PTS 10 Oct 27, 1956 30 years, 151 days Palazzo dello Sport (Pad. 3 Fiera), Milan, Italy
49 Win 43–4–2 Robert Cohen TKO 7 (15) Jun 29, 1956 30 years, 31 days Stadio Olimpico, Roma, Italy Won NYSAC and The Ring bantamweight titles
48 Win 42–4–2 Jesus Lucas Rubio PTS 10 May 18, 1956 29 years, 355 days Palazzo del Ghiaccio, Milan, Italy
47 Win 41–4–2 Jesus Lucas Rubio PTS 10 Mar 21, 1956 29 years, 297 days Teatro Mariani, Ravenna, Italy
46 Win 40–4–2 Little Cezar SD 10 Jan 21, 1956 29 years, 237 days Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Manila, Philippines
45 Win 39–4–2 Andre Valignat DQ 5 (15), 2:02 Oct 29, 1955 29 years, 153 days Palazzo dello Sport (Pad. 3 Fiera), Milan, Italy Won vacant EBU bantamweight title
44 Win 38–4–2 Jean Kidy RTD 5 (10) Oct 15, 1955 29 years, 139 days Palazzo del Ghiaccio, Milan, Italy
43 Win 37–4–2 Pedro Paris KO 3 (10) Sep 15, 1955 29 years, 109 days Bologna, Italy
42 Win 36–4–2 Jose Luis Martinez KO 8 (10) Aug 18, 1955 29 years, 81 days Messina, Italy
41 Win 35–4–2 Mohamed Farid TKO 4 (10), 1:45 Aug 9, 1955 29 years, 72 days Arena Flegrea, Napoli, Italy
40 Win 34–4–2 Jose Crespo KO 5 (10) Jul 30, 1955 29 years, 62 days Bari, Italy
39 Win 33–4–2 Henri Schmid PTS 10 Jul 21, 1955 29 years, 53 days Prato, Italy
38 Win 32–4–2 Robert Meunier PTS 10 Jun 28, 1955 29 years, 30 days Palazzetto dello Sport, Roma, Italy
37 Win 31–4–2 Assane Fakyh RTD 4 (10) Jun 13, 1955 29 years, 15 days Livorno, Italy
36 Win 30–4–2 Arthur Emboule RTD 8 (10) May 25, 1955 28 years, 361 days Stadio di Torino-Esposizioni, Torino, Italy
35 Win 29–4–2 Billy Peacock PTS 12 Dec 10, 1954 28 years, 195 days West Melbourne Stadium, Victoria, Melbourne
34 Win 28–4–2 Bobby Sinn PTS 12 Nov 19, 1954 28 years, 174 days West Melbourne Stadium, Victoria Melbourne
33 Win 27–4–2 Alex Bollaert TKO 5 (10) Oct 1, 1954 28 years, 125 days Palazzo del Ghiaccio, Milan, Italy
32 Win 26–4–2 Andre Valignat PTS 10 Jul 31, 1954 28 years, 63 days Arezzo, Italy
31 Win 25–4–2 Emile Chemama PTS 10 Jun 12, 1954 28 years, 14 days Stade de la Pépinière, Tunis, Tunisia
30 Loss 24–4–2 Robert Cohen UD 10 May 15, 1954 27 years, 351 days Stade de la Pépinière, Tunis, Tunisia
29 Win 24–3–2 Kid Andre TKO 10 (10) Apr 30, 1954 27 years, 336 days Palazzo del Ghiaccio, Milan, Italy
28 Win 23–3–2 Giovanni Zuddas PTS 12 Apr 10, 1954 27 years, 316 days Palazzo del Ghiaccio, Milan, Italy Retained Italy bantamweight title
27 Win 22–3–2 Luigi Fasulo RTD 4 (12) Jan 23, 1954 27 years, 239 days Napoli, Italy Retained Italy bantamweight title
26 Draw 21–3–2 Andre Valignat PTS 10 Nov 15, 1953 27 years, 170 days Palais de la Mutualité, Paris, France
25 Win 21–3–1 Pierre Gress Gyde TKO 6 (10) Oct 30, 1953 27 years, 154 days Pavillon des Sports, Geneva, Switzerland
24 Win 20–3–1 Giovanni Zuddas DQ 9 (12) Sep 26, 1953 27 years, 120 days Teatro Politeama Universale, Arezzo, Italy Won vacant Italy bantamweight title
23 Win 19–3–1 Arthur Emboule PTS 10 Jul 6, 1953 27 years, 38 days Arezzo, Italy
22 Win 18–3–1 Edmond Moletto PTS 10 Mar 30, 1953 26 years, 305 days Arezzo, Italy
21 Win 17–3–1 Jacques Louni PTS 10 Jan 15, 1953 26 years, 231 days Teatro Politeama Universale, Arezzo, Italy
20 Win 16–3–1 Giuseppe D'Augusta PTS 10 Dec 26, 1952 26 years, 211 days Milan, Italy
19 Win 15–3–1 Gaetano Annaloro DQ 7 (8) Nov 26, 1952 26 years, 181 days Teatro Nazionale, Milan, Italy
18 Win 14–3–1 Rino Stiaccini PTS 6 Nov 7, 1952 26 years, 162 days Florence, Italy
17 Win 13–3–1 Enzo Ganadu RTD 3 (10) Jun 11, 1952 26 years, 13 days Milan, Italy
16 Loss 12–3–1 Renato Denti DQ 5 (10) May 17, 1952 25 years, 354 days Florence, Italy
15 Win 12–2–1 Giuliano Catini TKO 2 (10) Feb 20, 1952 25 years, 267 days Florence, Italy
14 Loss 11–2–1 Kid Arcelli PTS 10 Dec 28, 1951 25 years, 213 days Siena, Italy
13 Win 11–1–1 Luigi Fasulo TKO 3 (10) Nov 30, 1951 25 years, 185 days Arezzo, Italy
12 Draw 10–1–1 Giuseppe D'Augusta PTS 8 Sep 29, 1951 25 years, 123 days Catania, Italy
11 Loss 10–1 Kid Arcelli PTS 10 Aug 2, 1951 25 years, 65 days Florence, Italy
10 Win 10–0 Arturo Paoletti DQ 7 (10) Jun 22, 1951 25 years, 24 days Arezzo, Italy
9 Win 9–0 Tino Cardinale PTS 8 May 31, 1951 25 years, 2 days Florence, Italy
8 Win 8–0 Benito Giovanni Fattori PTS 8 May 2, 1951 24 years, 338 days Arezzo, Italy
7 Win 7–0 Arturo Peratici PTS 8 Feb 28, 1951 24 years, 275 days Arezzo, Italy
6 Win 6–0 Giovanni Capobianchi PTS 8 Jan 31, 1951 24 years, 247 days Cinema Teatro Goldoni, Florence, Italy
5 Win 5–0 Pietro Cesarini DQ 2 (8) Jan 12, 1951 24 years, 228 days Cinema Teatro Pucci, San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy
4 Win 4–0 Gaudenzio Carutti TKO 4 (6) Dec 16, 1950 24 years, 201 days Montevarchi, Italy
3 Win 3–0 Settimio Marabitti PTS 6 Nov 4, 1950 24 years, 159 days Roma, Italy
2 Win 2–0 Settimio Marabitti PTS 6 Oct 28, 1950 24 years, 152 days Arezzo, Italy
1 Win 1–0 Giuseppe Salardi PTS 6 Oct 14, 1950 24 years, 138 days Siena, Italy

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "D'Agata, Born a Deaf Mute, Takes Title To Cap Return to Ring After Gun Wound". The New York Times. 31 October 1955. Retrieved 28 November 2019 – via The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Mario D'Agata - Lineal Bantamweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ "Italian Fighter Shot in Chest". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 February 1955. Retrieved 29 November 2019 – via Google News Archive.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Preceded by Italian bantamweight champion
26 September 1953 – 7 April 1955
Vacant
Title next held by
Piero Rollo
Vacant
Title last held by
Robert Cohen
European bantamweight champion
27 October 1957 – 12 October 1958
Succeeded by
Piero Rollo
Major world boxing titles
Preceded by
Robert Cohen
Lineal bantamweight champion
29 June 1956 - 1 April 1957
Succeeded by