Undefeated Danish cruiserweight Micki Nielsen (20-0, 14 KOs) takes another step up the fistic ladder on Saturday, March 19, when he opposes Italy’s Mirko Larghetti (24-1, 16 KOs) in a 12-round contest at the Albertslund Music Theater in the Albertslund suburb of Copenhagen. Nielsen is a solid favorite, as he should be as Danish judges are notoriously partial to homegrown fighters, but this is his stiffest test to date. Larghetti was competitive in his lone defeat, a 12-round setback to Marco Huck in a failed attempt to lift Huck’s WBO World cruiserweight title. Since that defeat, the Italian has won three straight inside the distance.
The 23-year-old Nielsen is the younger brother of Patrick Nielsen, a super middleweight with a 28-1 ledger. The Nielsen brothers, both southpaws, are part of the Team Sauerland stable, the German promotional group that has made big inroads in Denmark, formerly the fiefdom of promoter Mogens Palle.
When Team Sauerland opened a boxing gym in Copenhagen in 2013, they sent Joey Gamache there to run it. A former WBA World super featherweight title-holder and WBA World lightweight title-holder, Gamache is recognized as the only boxer from Maine to hold a world title.
Gamache retired with a 55-4 record after suffering a brutal second round knockout at the hands of Arturo Gatti on Feb. 26, 2000, at Madison Square Garden. Gatti weighed in for the fight at 141 pounds (a dubious reading), but was 160 on fight night according to the unofficial HBO scale, 15 pounds heavier than the ill-fated Gamache. The disparity opened a can of worms that was another black eye for the besotted New York Athletic Commission (a story best told by Thomas Hauser).
Teddy Atlas trained Gamache for a small portion of his career. In retirement, Gamache worked as an assistant to Emanuel Steward at Detroit’s fabled Kronk Gym before taking his talents to Europe. Danish boxers haven’t fared well when stepping up in class, but Gamache is confident that Micki Nielsen is a future world champion.
Gamache also works with Kai Robin Havnaa, the son of the late Magne Havnaa, a former WBO cruiserweight champion. Havnaa (5-0, 4 KOs) meets unknown Miklos Kovacs in a 6-round affair. In a special attraction, Ghana's undefeated Richard Commey (23-0, 21 KOs) meets Anzor Gamgebeli (27-13-3) from the Republic of Georgia. This is a tune-up fight for Commey who is next in line for a crack at Rances Barthelemy’s IBF World lightweight title. Six other fights complete the 9-fight card.