26 April 1938
|Weight(s)||79.5 kg (175 lb)|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Wins by KO||35|
Giovanni "Nino" Benvenuti (born 26 April 1938) is an Italian former professional boxer and actor. He held world titles in two weight classes, having held the undisputed super-welterweight championship from June 1965 to June 1966 and the undisputed middleweight championship twice, from April to September 1967, and from March 1968 to November 1970. As an amateur welterweight boxer he won the Italian title in 1956–60, the European title in 1957 and 1959, and an Olympic gold medal in 1960, receiving the Val Barker trophy for boxing style. In 1961, having an amateur record of 120-0, he turned professional and won world titles in the light-middleweight division and twice in the middleweight division. Near the end of his boxing career he appeared in two Italian films, Sundance and the Kid (1969) and then in Mark Shoots First (1975).
Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992. He currently ranks No.32 in BoxRec's ranking of the greatest pound for pound boxers of all time. In 1968, Benvenuti was voted Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine. In 2011, The Ring magazine ranked him as seventh on their list of the "10 best middleweight title holders of the last 50 years."
Professional boxing career
On 20 January 1961, Benvenuti made his professional boxing debut, beating Ben Ali Allala by decision in six rounds. He then won 29 fights in a row before challenging for the Italian middleweight title, on 1 March 1963, in Rome against Tommaso Truppi. His winning streak extended to 30 when he knocked out Truppi in round eleven. His winning streak reached 46 wins in a row when he met former world junior middleweight champion Denny Moyer on 18 September 1964, beating Moyer on points in ten rounds.
After reaching 55 wins in a row, including a five-round knockout of Truppi in a rematch, he met world jr. middleweight champion Sandro Mazzinghi in Milan, on 18 June 1965. This was a fight the Italian public clamored for: both men were Italian, both men claimed to be the best in their division, and they had expressed desire to fight each other. Benvenuti became the world junior middleweight champion with a sixth-round knockout win. It was common, at that era, for world champions to fight for regional belts after winning the world title, so on 15 October 1965, he added the European belt at the middleweight division, with a sixth-round knockout of Luis Folledo.
A rematch with Mazzinghi took place on 17 December 1965, and Benvenuti retained the world junior middleweight crown after winning a fifteen-round decision. After three non-title wins, including a twelve-round decision over Don Fullmer and a fourteen-round knockout in Germany of Jupp Elze (Benvenuti's first professional fight abroad), he travelled to South Korea, where he lost his world junior middleweight title against Ki-Soo Kim, who won by decision in fifteen rounds on 25 June 1966, breaking Benvenuti's record of 65 consecutive wins. Frustrated by what he perceived as an unjust decision to favour the local boxer, Benvenuti decided to drop the junior middleweight and concentrate on the middleweight division instead.
Benvenuti beat Emile Griffith by decision in fifteen rounds at New York City's Madison Square Garden on 17 April 1967, in what was the beginning of their trilogy of fights, to win the world middleweight title. On a rematch at Shea Stadium on 29 September 1967, he lost by a decision in fifteen rounds.
On 4 March 1968, Benvenuti and Griffith completed their trilogy, once again at Madison Square Garden, with Benvenuti knocking Griffith down in round nine and winning a fifteen-round decision to regain the world middleweight title. On 14 December 1968, in San Remo, he and Fullmer met once again, and Benvenuti retained the world middleweight title with a fifteen-round decision. On 26 May 1969, Benvenuti lost a ten round decision to former world light heavyweight champion Dick Tiger in a light heavyweight, non-title match. Benvenuti broke his right hand while landing a head punch in the first round, but chose to continue fighting "like a cripple" rather than quit.
The most curious defense of Benvenuti's active reign, took place on 4 October 1969, when he retained the world middleweight title with a seven-round disqualification win over American Fraser Scott at the Stadio S. Paolo in Naples. From the first round, Scott was warned repeatedly, and with increasing intensity from the referee, about attempted butting. Scott, a young fighter unschooled in the European insistence on what his trainer referred to as "that...Olympic stand-up style", knowing only the battle plan he went in with and speaking no Italian, did not understand the warnings at first, then was unable to alter his approach; to the American, he was merely "ducking" Benvenuti's shots. The bout was foul-filled even without this added controversy; Scott would later accuse Benvenuti of having tried to thumb him, and during the sixth round, the fighters' legs became entangled as they wrestled, causing both to crash to the canvas. Round seven saw the stoppage, the referee asserting "attempted butting", Fraser Scott and corner forever insisting he had "ducked".
On 13 March 1970, in a non-title bout, Benvenuti was knocked out in the eighth round by unknown American Tom Bethea in Australia. The upset defeat caused Bethea to earn a world title shot at Benvenuti's title. Benvenuti avenged the defeat when the two met again in Umag with an eighth-round knockout.
In 1971, after losing a ten-round decision to José Chirino, a fighter he had picked due to his fighting style's similarities with Monzón, Benvenuti got a rematch with Monzón for the world middleweight title in Monte Carlo on 8 May 1971. Monzón won again in round three when Benvenuti‘s corner threw in the towel. Realizing that he no longer had the stamina to compete with champions of a new generation like Monzón, Benvenuti announced his retirement.
After retiring from boxing Benvenuti became a successful businessman, TV pundit and city counselor for sport in Trieste. He opened a high-class restaurant and maintained a strong friendship with his former rivals Monzón and Griffith. In 1980 Benvenuti asked Griffith to be the godfather of one of his sons, and later helped him financially when Griffith was in trouble. Monzón was a guest at Benvenuti's television show several times, and, when he was accused of murdering his wife in 1988, Benvenuti became one of his most loyal supporters, visiting him in jail in Argentina. Benvenuti was a pallbearer at Monzón’s funeral in 1995.
Retirement and personal life
Nino Benvenuti was born in Isola d'Istria, at that time in Italy (now in Slovenia). After the war his family fled to Italy due to the consequences of the war treaty and the hostilities created by the Yugoslav government.
In 1961 Benvenuti married Giuliana Fonzari; they had four sons and adopted a Tunisian girl. They later divorced, and Benvenuti married Nadia Bertorello, with whom he had one daughter.
Professional boxing record
|90 fights||82 wins||7 losses|
|90||Loss||82–7–1||Carlos Monzón||TKO||3 (15), 1:05||8 May 1971||Stade Louis II, Fontvieille, Monte Carlo, Monaco||For WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|89||Loss||82–6–1||José Chirino||MD||10||17 Mar 1971||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|88||Loss||82–5–1||Carlos Monzón||TKO||12 (15), 1:57||7 Nov 1970||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy||Lost WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|87||Win||82–4–1||Doyle Baird||TKO||10 (10), 2:03||12 Sep 1970||Stadio della Vittoria, Bari, Apulia, Italy|
|86||Win||81–4–1||Tom Bethea||KO||8 (15), 2:43||23 May 1970||Sports Stadium Arena, Umag, Yugoslavia||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|85||Loss||80–4–1||Tom Bethea||TKO||8 (10)||13 Mar 1970||Olympic Velodrome, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|84||Win||80–3–1||Luis Manuel Rodríguez||KO||11 (15), 1:08||22 Nov 1969||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|83||Win||79–3–1||Fraser Scott||DQ||7 (15), 1:40||4 Oct 1969||Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Campania, Italy||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|82||Loss||78–3–1||Dick Tiger||UD||10||26 May 1969||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|81||Win||78–2–1||Don Fullmer||UD||15||14 Dec 1968||Teatro Ariston, Sanremo, Liguria, Italy||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|80||Draw||77–2–1||Doyle Baird||PTS||10||14 Oct 1968||Rubber Bowl, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
|79||Win||77–2||Art Hernandez||UD||10||17 Sep 1968||Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|78||Win||76–2||Jimmy Ramos||RTD||4 (10), 0:30||5 Jul 1968||Turin, Piedmont, Italy|
|77||Win||75–2||Yoshiaki Akasaka||KO||2 (10)||7 Jun 1968||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|76||Win||74–2||Emile Griffith||UD||15||4 Mar 1968||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Won WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|75||Win||73–2||Charley Austin||PTS||10||19 Jan 1968||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|74||Loss||72–2||Emile Griffith||MD||15||29 Sep 1967||Shea Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.||Lost WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|73||Win||72–1||Emile Griffith||UD||15||17 Apr 1967||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Won WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles|
|72||Win||71–1||Milo Calhoun||PTS||10||3 Mar 1967||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|71||Win||70–1||Manfred Graus||KO||2 (10), 2:40||19 Jan 1967||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|70||Win||69–1||Renato Moraes||KO||9 (10)||23 Dec 1966||Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|69||Win||68–1||Ferd Hernandez||PTS||10||2 Dec 1966||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|68||Win||67–1||Pascal Di Benedetto||RTD||11 (15)||21 Oct 1966||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy||Retained European middleweight title|
|67||Win||66–1||Harry Scott||PTS||10||23 Sep 1966||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|66||Loss||65–1||Kim Ki-Soo||SD||15||25 Jun 1966||Jangchung Gymnasium, Seoul, South Korea||Lost WBA and WBC junior middleweight titles|
|65||Win||65–0||Jupp Elze||TKO||14 (15), 1:27||14 May 1966||Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany||Retained European middleweight title|
|64||Win||64–0||Clarence James||PTS||10||11 Mar 1966||Turin, Piedmont, Italy|
|63||Win||63–0||Don Fullmer||UD||12||4 Feb 1966||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|62||Win||62–0||Sandro Mazzinghi||UD||15||17 Dec 1965||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy||Retained WBA and WBC junior middleweight titles|
|61||Win||61–0||James Shelton||PTS||10||15 Nov 1965||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|60||Win||60–0||Johnny Torres||DQ||7 (10)||5 Nov 1965||Turin, Piedmont, Italy|
|59||Win||59–0||Luis Folledo||KO||6 (15)||15 Oct 1965||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy||Won vacant European middleweight title|
|58||Win||58–0||Daniel Leullier||TKO||7 (10)||16 Aug 1965||Senigallia, Marche, Italy|
|57||Win||57–0||Sandro Mazzinghi||KO||6 (15), 2:40||18 Jun 1965||San Siro, Milan, Lombardy, Italy||Won WBA and WBC junior middleweight titles|
|56||Win||56–0||Milo Calhoun||PTS||10||30 Apr 1965||Genoa, Liguria, Italy|
|55||Win||55–0||Rip Randall||PTS||10||2 Apr 1965||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|54||Win||54–0||Dick Knight||KO||6 (10)||19 Mar 1965||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|53||Win||53–0||Mick Leahy||PTS||10||27 Feb 1965||Palazzo dello Sport, Milan, Lombardy, Italy|
|52||Win||52–0||Tommaso Truppi||RTD||5 (12)||12 Feb 1965||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy||Retained Italian middleweight title|
|51||Win||51–0||Art Hernandez||TKO||3 (10), 2:20||22 Jan 1965||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|50||Win||50–0||Juan Carlos Durán||PTS||10||19 Dec 1964||Palazzo dello Sport, Milan, Lombardy, Italy|
|49||Win||49–0||Aristeo Chavarin||KO||4 (10)||27 Nov 1964||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|48||Win||48–0||Abrao De Souza||DQ||7 (10)||9 Oct 1964||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|47||Win||47–0||Denny Moyer||PTS||10||18 Sep 1964||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|46||Win||46–0||Fabio Bettini||PTS||12||30 Jul 1964||Sanremo, Liguria, Italy||Retained Italian middleweight title|
|45||Win||45–0||Jimmy Beecham||TKO||2 (10)||28 May 1964||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|44||Win||44–0||Sugar Boy Nando||PTS||10||10 Apr 1964||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|43||Win||43–0||Michel Diouf||PTS||10||18 Mar 1964||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|42||Win||42–0||Memo Ayon||KO||5 (10), 0:28||28 Feb 1964||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|41||Win||41–0||Ted Wright||PTS||10||13 Dec 1963||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|40||Win||40–0||Luis Gutierrez||TKO||7 (10)||15 Nov 1963||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|39||Win||39–0||Jackie Cailleau||PTS||10||7 Nov 1963||Prato, Tuscany, Italy|
|38||Win||38–0||Gaspar Ortega||PTS||10||18 Oct 1963||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|37||Win||37–0||Víctor Zalazar||TKO||2 (10)||27 Sep 1963||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|36||Win||36–0||Wilhelm Niederau||TKO||6 (10)||16 Sep 1963||Prato, Tuscany, Italy|
|35||Win||35–0||Francesco Fiori||TKO||3 (12)||31 Aug 1963||Priverno, Lazio, Italy||Retained Italian middleweight title|
|34||Win||34–0||Tony Montano||PTS||10||7 Jun 1963||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|33||Win||33–0||Jimmy Beecham||PTS||10||23 May 1963||Stadio Flaminio, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|32||Win||32–0||Jean Ruellet||PTS||10||24 Apr 1963||Palazzetto dello Sport, Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy|
|31||Win||31–0||Georges Estatoff||KO||6 (10), 0:33||5 Apr 1963||Palazzo dello Sport, Turin, Piedmont, Italy|
|30||Win||30–0||Tommaso Truppi||KO||11 (12)||1 Mar 1963||Rome, Lazio, Italy||Won vacant Italian middleweight title|
|29||Win||29–0||Giampaolo Melis||KO||2 (10)||26 Dec 1962||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|28||Win||28–0||Isaac Logart||PTS||10||30 Nov 1962||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|27||Win||27–0||Daniel Leullier||PTS||10||18 Oct 1962||Padua, Veneto, Italy|
|26||Win||26–0||Diego Infantes||PTS||8||28 Sep 1962||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|25||Win||25–0||Giuseppe Gentiletti||KO||2 (10)||30 Aug 1962||Senigallia, Marche, Italy|
|24||Win||24–0||Mahmout le Noir||PTS||8||2 Aug 1962||Lignano, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|23||Win||23–0||Gino Rossi||PTS||10||12 Jul 1962||Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy|
|22||Win||22–0||Heinz Freytag||PTS||8||22 Jun 1962||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|21||Win||21–0||Jean Ruellet||PTS||8||2 Jun 1962||Stadio Amsicora, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy|
|20||Win||20–0||Hector Constance||PTS||10||1 May 1962||Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy|
|19||Win||19–0||Jim Hegerle||KO||4 (11)||13 Apr 1962||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|18||Win||18–0||Gianni Lommi||KO||5 (10)||17 Mar 1962||Milan, Lombardy, Italy|
|17||Win||17–0||Manfred Haas||PTS||8||8 Mar 1962||Turin, Piedmont, Italy|
|16||Win||16–0||José Riquelme||PTS||8||19 Feb 1962||Palazzetto dello Sport, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|15||Win||15–0||George Aldridge||KO||6 (10)||19 Jan 1962||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|14||Win||14–0||Giuseppe Catalano||PTS||8||20 Dec 1961||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|13||Win||13–0||Jesse Jones||DQ||6 (8)||9 Nov 1961||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|12||Win||12–0||Angelo Brisci||KO||1 (8)||1 Nov 1961||Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy|
|11||Win||11–0||Retmia Mahrez||TKO||3 (8)||2 Oct 1961||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|10||Win||10–0||Marc Desforneaux||PTS||6||17 Jun 1961||Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy|
|9||Win||9–0||Henri Cabelduc||PTS||6||7 Jun 1961||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|8||Win||8–0||Michel Francois||KO||4 (8)||16 May 1961||Turin, Piedmont, Italy|
|7||Win||7–0||Daniel Brunet||DQ||3 (8)||3 May 1961||Naples, Campania, Italy|
|6||Win||6–0||Pierre Mondino||PTS||6||21 Apr 1961||Florence, Tuscany, Italy|
|5||Win||5–0||Nic Maric||PTS||6||7 Apr 1961||PalaLido, Milan, Lombardy, Italy|
|4||Win||4–0||Sahib Mosri||KO||3 (6)||14 Mar 1961||Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|3||Win||3–0||Ben Ali Allala||KO||1 (6)||27 Feb 1961||Naples, Campania, Italy|
|2||Win||2–0||Nicola Sammartino||KO||3 (6)||10 Feb 1961||Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|1||Win||1–0||Ben Ali Allala||PTS||6||20 Jan 1961||Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy|
On 7 May 2015, in the presence of the President of Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Giovanni Malagò, was inaugurated in the Olympic Park of the Foro Italico in Rome, along Viale delle Olimpiadi, the Walk of Fame of Italian sport, consisting of 100 tiles that chronologically report names of the most representative athletes in the history of Italian sport. On each tile are the name of the sportsman, the sport in which he distinguished himself and the symbol of CONI. One of the tiles is dedicated to Nino Benvenuti.
- Legends of Italian sport - Walk of Fame
- List of world light-middleweight boxing champions
- List of world middleweight boxing champions
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Nino Benvenuti". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2020-04-18.
- Alive or Preferably Dead. IMDb
- "BoxRec ratings: world, pound-for-pound, active and inactive". BoxRec. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
- "10: Best middleweight titleholders of the last 50 years". RingTV. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- De Franco, Luca (16 November 2005). "A Conversation with Nino Benvenuti". The Sweet Science. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Nino Benvenuti - Lineal Junior Middleweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
- Wheeler, Paul (26 April 2018). "On This Day: Italian great Nino Benvenuti was born". Boxing News. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Nino Benvenuti - Lineal Middleweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
- "Benvenuti Breaks Hand, Loses Decision to Tiger". The Desert Sun. 27 May 1969. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Benvenuti Settles for Immortality". The New York Times. 15 February 1970. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- Scott, Fraser (1974). Weigh-in. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. p. 217. ISBN 0-690-00157-6.
- Kram, Mark (1 December 1969). "NINO'S HOOK STOPPED A ROMAN RIOT". Vault - Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- Casey, Mike (28 July 2006). "Fall Of The Emperor: Monzon Dethroned Nino". Boxing Scene. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Nino Benvenuti". ibhof.com.
- Grasso, John (2013). Historical Dictionary of Boxing. Scarecrow Press. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7867-9.
- Abramson, Mitch (24 December 2009) Daily News reunites boxing legends Nino Benvenuti and Emile Griffith one last time. nydailynews.com
- Kane, Martin (14 February 1966). "A JAB FROM THE INTELLECTUAL". Vault - Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- Benvenuti a questo mondo. gazzetta.it (8 September 1999)
- "Inaugurata la Walk of Fame: 100 targhe per celebrare le leggende dello sport italiano" (in Italian). coni.it. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
- I, Benvenuti. Carroccio. 1967.
- Nino Benvenuti (2001). Il mondo in pugno. Sperling & Kupfer. ISBN 978-88-200-3074-2.
- Nino Benvenuti at BoxRec (registration required)
- Nino Benvenuti at Olympedia
- Nino Benvenuti at the Italian National Olympic Committee (in Italian)
- Nino Benvenuti at the CONI honoured athlete website (in Italian)
- Boxing record for Nino Benvenuti from BoxRec (registration required)
- Official website (in Italian)