Cristian Sanavia is one of the few Italian boxers good enough to become world champion on foreign soil, beating the local favorite on points. It happened on June 5, 2004 in Chemnitz (Germany) where he got a split decision against WBC super middleweight king Markus Beyer. Two judges ruled for Sanavia (116-115 and 116-113), while the third official had it for Beyer (115-114). On October 9 of the same year, in Erfurt (Germany), Beyer got revenge KOing his rival during the sixth round.
Since then, Cristian Sanavia has been building his way up to get another shot at a version of the world super middleweight title. He suffered a major setback when he lost on points to Danilo Haussler, on July 16, 2005 in Nuremburg (Germany) for the WBA intercontinental belt. The scorecards were 115-115, 116-114 and 115-114 for Haussler. All of the people who watched the fight, told me that Sanavia won at least seven rounds... This incident, didn’t put the Italian out of the picture: he is ranked number 8 by the WBC, number 10 by the WBO and he is the official challenger to the European title held by Jackson Chanet. During his nine years as a professional, Cristian Sanavia compiled a record of 36 wins (12 KOs) and 3 losses.
He started as a middleweight winning many titles, the most important ones being the Italian and European championships. On December 1, 2001, in Padova (Italy) he won the Euro belt defeating on points respected Morrade Hakkar (whose record was 30-2 and who had been French champion). On May 11, 2002 (in Milan) Hakkar needed only seven rounds to even the score. (In his following fight, Hakkar was stopped in eight rounds by Bernard Hopkins.)
Getting back to Sanavia, he will fight next May 6 in a show to be promoted by Salvatore Cherchi. The location and opponent are uncertain, but it is sure that the event will be broadcasted in 54 countries by Eurosport. After this routine match, Sanavia should get his chance against Jackson Chanet, who is 26-0 with 16 KOs. I write ‘should’ because Chanet will defend the EBU belt next April 14, in Reims (France) against Armenian Mger Mkrtchian (22-2 with 16 KOs). It has to be noticed that Chanet started has a light heavyweight becoming French champion in that division. If Chanet loses his title, Sanavia should get his shot at the new champion. If that won’t happen, there are other options. Let’s hear the story from him.
Cristian, who’s the number one on your list?
Markus Beyer. I would love to get another shot at his WBC crown. It could also be good for him: our fight could be hyped something like “Once and For All,” generate a lot of interest and draw a big crowd. That would mean big purses for us. I have no doubts that I will beat him.
But he KOed you the last time.
Yes, but I was winning on points and he was lucky in hitting me with a perfect left straight hand to the chin.
Beyer told me that he hit you with a left-right-left combination.
Yes, he threw three straight hands, but the first two did nothing to me. It was the third shot that landed on my chin knocking me out.
You are saying that it was just a lucky punch?
No, it was the punch of a lifetime. Every boxer wants to land a punch like that, but it almost never happens. If we fight again, I won’t let Markus hit me with such a perfect punch again.
Was Markus Beyer your toughest opponent?
No, it was Jerry Elliot. He was a Nigerian fighting in Germany for Sauerland Event. Jerry had a record of 29-0-1 and had KOed 24 opponents winning the WBC international middleweight title. I took the belt from him on points (116-114, 116-115 and 115-113).
Would you like to fight Joe Calzaghe?
It would be a honor facing such a great champion. He was magnificent in his last fight: he ridiculed Jeff Lacy dominating him for 12 rounds. I knew it from the beginning, because I saw Joe fighting many times.
Instead, many people were surprised of the outcome.
Obviously, they were casual fans. The people in the boxing business knew how good Calzaghe was. He won the WBO super middleweight title in 1997 and defended it 17 times (before the Lacy massacre). Among the boxers Joe defeated, I remember Chris Eubank, Mario Veit, Richie Woodhall, Tocker Pudwill, Omar Sheika (who was 20-1, back then) and Robin Reid. If you work in this business, you know about a guy with Calzaghe’s record. I consider him the best.
Would you fight him even in Manchester, with 20,000 people rooting for him?
Of course. I never had a problem in fighting abroad. Also because the purses are higher than in Italy. Calzaghe’s style looks dangerous because he throws hundreds of punches and never stops, but he also opens himself to be hit. I consider more dangerous those fighters who dance around me with their guard always up and wait for the right moment to land power punches. Those kind of boxers are less spectacular, but more effective and have few losses in their records. My style is in between: I throw many punches, one after another, but I try not to waste even one of them.
What about WBA champion Mikkel Kessler?
I never so him in action, so I won’t say anything about him. Of course, I would welcome the opportunity of winning the WBA crown.
The next big event in the super middleweight division is Denny Green vs. Anthony Mundine. What about those guys?
I can talk about Denny Green because I saw tapes of his fights. He is very strong physically, always comes forwards and throws many punches. I would love to fight him, even in Australia. I would have to be in top condition to beat him, but that won’t be a problem: I’m always in top shape for my fights.
Born in Piove di Sacco (Italy) on February 27, 1975
Trainer: Luciano Sarti
Manager: Salvatore Cherchi
Record: 36 wins (12 KOs) and 3 losses
Italian champion in 1999-2000
WBU intercontinental champion in 2000
WBC international champion in 2001
European champion in 2001-2002
Super middleweight title:
WBC world champion from June 5 to October 9, 2004
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV