You can argue about who’s the best professional female fighter around, but there’s no doubt on who’s the greatest amateur of all times: flyweight Simona Galassi. In just five years she compiled a record of 86 wins and 1 loss (most people think she was robbed; after all, it happened in Turkey against the local favorite), she became Italian and European champion, plus she won three consecutive world championships.
You can’t say that she is the classic overrated and protected European who never fought in America, because Simona had her initial success in Pennsylvania. In 2001, Simona participated to the first world championships held in Scranton. She had only one boxing fight in her résumé at the time, but years of success in kickboxing and muay thai. That’s why she was selected for the Italian national team. Between November 28 and December 2, 2001, Galassi won four fights, the gold medal and received the award of “Best fighter of the tournament.” The last accomplishment was very surprising for her: “I was surprised by the atmosphere: Americans didn’t just give me an award, they celebrated me and made me feel special. I was interviewed by Sports Illustrated Women which [wrote a big report on me] in the following months. Also, my opponents were much more experienced than me. Canadian Tammy De La Forest had been boxing since 1992 and I defeated her easily in the final. I really enjoyed my time in Pennsylvania.”
From October 22 to October 27, 2002 in Antalya (Turkey), Simona dominated the second edition of the world championships getting another gold medal. In the final, she outpointed North Korean Kim Kum Son who she considers one of the best fighters she faced: “Technically, she was very skilled. Just like the other Korean I beat in the 2005 world championships final: Ri Hyang Mi. They were my most difficult opponents.”
During her amateur career, Simona Galassi fought in Italy, United States, Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Norway and Russia and dominated every top-ranked flyweight, winning three European belts along the way (in 2003, 2004 and 2005). She also claimed the European Union title, in 2006. The only loss in Simona’s record took place on April 24, 2005 in Istanbul (Turkey) in the final of the Ahmet Comert tournament. The judges scored it 15-6 for Hasibe Ozer, who had previously lost (and would lose again) against the Italian. (It’s worth pointing out that Galassi received the award of “Best fighter of the event” right after losing to Ozer…) This is what Simona said about her rival: “Hasibe was the classic fighter who hugged a lot, used low blows and made it impossible to perform well.”
Considering that Simona Galassi was a champion in kickboxing and muay thai, it’s logical to think that those sports helped her a lot in the boxing ring. Simona says that’s only partially true: “Kickboxing and muay thai got me into the gym every day and I became used to training seriously, to compete regularly, to fear nobody, to win major titles and defend them. In kickboxing, I became Italian and European champion. In muay thai, I won the European and world titles. When I say muay thai, I mean the style which allows punches, kicks and knees (no elbows, which are legal in Thailand but illegal almost everywhere else). Kickboxing and muay thai didn’t help me in the boxing ring. I know that ring sports look similar, but they have little in common. The guard, the position of the body, the distribution of the weight on the legs are different. Also, kickboxers and muay thai fighters don’t have the same defensive skills of boxers – which I developed thanks to the trainer of the Italian boxing team Raffaele Bergamasco.”
Next Sunday, Simona Galassi will make her professional debut in Milan during the big show organized by Salvatore Cherchi and Parisi Flash Promotion at the famed Palalido. Simona will face Slovakian Simona Pencakova, who has 6 losses and 1 draw on her record. No doubt Simona will come out the winner. As a matter of fact, everybody in Italy is already talking about a world title fight for Galassi. Displaying a lot of common sense, Simona says: “Before talking about a major title, I must get used to the ten-round distance. That’s my main concern, not my opponents. After I’m sure that I can go ten rounds easily, I will challenge everybody. Among flyweight champions, I know that Regina Halmich (WIBF) is a legend, but I never saw her in action. I saw Stefania Bianchini (WBC) in the ring many times and I think that we would put on a great show.”
Simona Galassi and Stefania Bianchini have one thing in common: they know how to relate to people and that’s why they are regularly in the media. In Italy, they get more coverage than the majority of professional male boxers. If Simona Galassi becomes world champion as a professional, there’s no limit to the amount of publicity she will receive. She may even become the Italian version of Laila Ali. “There’s no doubt that she got big opportunities and major purses thanks to her name,” Simona said, “but she improved a lot technically and deserves respect. Besides, the star status she gained benefits female boxing as a whole. I don’t know the best fighters in the super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, I cannot say if there were champions who could have knocked out Laila and never got to face her. If this happened, it wouldn’t diminish the value of Laila at all.”
On October 8, we’ll see Simona’s first step as a professional. The main event will be Giovanni Parisi’s challenge to European welterweight champion Frederic Klose. In the main supporting bout, European flyweight champion Andrea Sarritzu will make his first defense against Christophe Rodrigues. A sold-out audience is expected.
Born on June 27, 1972 in Forlì (Central Italy).
Division: Flyweight (110 lbs).
WAKO Italian champion
WKA European champion
WPKC European champion
WPKC World champion
In these two ring sports, she compiled a record of 24 wins, 3 losses and 3 draws.
European Union champion in 2006.
European champion in 2003-2004-2005.
World champion in 2001-2002-2004.