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I met Joe Calzaghe at the NEC in Birmingham in November 2007, just a couple of weeks after he fought Mikkel Kessler and won two more super-middleweight titles to add to the one he already had!
Joe signed my copy of his autobiography, and a large photograph.
Joe Calzaghe v. Sakio Bika in 2006
Joseph William Calzaghe was born in Hammersmith, London in 1972. His father, Enzo Calzaghe, comes from Sardinia and his mother, Jackie, is from Wales. Joe has two sisters, Sonia and Melissa.
The family moved to Newbridge in South Wales when Joe was just 2 years old, and he later went to the Pentwynmawr Primary school there. He was a shy boy but he showed much promise at football & boxing.
He later attended the Oakdale Comprehensive School in nearby Blackwood where, encouraged by his father, he continued to work hard at his boxing. He was, however, very un
unhappy at school because of a group of playground bullies who sneered at his dedication to boxing. He lost his first amateur fight to a boy named Chris Stark, whose dad was the referee! Despite this, he won his first British ABA title aged 12. Joe went on to win four schoolboy ABA titles, followed by three consecutive senior British ABA Championships from 1991 to 1993.
Joe aged 10 won boxing & football trophys at
Pentwynmawr Primary School
Joe aged 14
Joe fights Ian Raby in Derby in 1984
Joe aged 12
With over 120 amateur fights under his belt (he lost only nine of
of them), and keeping his father as
as his trainer-manager, Joe moved on from amateur to profession Ha
Joe's first professional fight v. Hanlon
professional boxing in 1993. He made his professional debut at the Cardiff Arms Park in October that year, against Paul Hanlon, with Lennox Lewis v. Frank Bruno fight also on the bill. By June 1995 Joe had won all of his nine professional fights, winning h
him the Young Boxer of the Year award from the Professional B
Joe at Enzo's gym in Abercarn
end of 1996 Joe, who has always trained at his father's gym (the Newbridge Boxing Club) in Abercarn, had won all twenty of his professional fights. However he was becoming disillusioned at not being given the chance of a World Championship contest, so he made the decision to switch managers. He left Terry Lawless & Mickey Duff, and signed up with promoter Frank Warren and the Sports Network' team.
Boxing Association. By the
Joe & Enzo Calzaghe outside their Boxing Club
Warren soon set up a fight against the British boxing legend Chris Eubank, for the vacant WBO Super Middleweight title on 11 October 1997, in Sheffield. Calzaghe knocked Eubank down in the fi
Joe Calzaghe v. Chris Eubank in 1997
Joe Calzaghe v. Byron Mitchell in 2003
first few seconds, but Eubank came back very strongly and the two boxers fought hard for 12 rounds. It was Calzaghe's first time beyond eight rounds, but he just did enough to win on points and claim his first world title.
Between 1998 and 2005, Joe Calzaghe defended his title
Joe Calzaghe v. Mario Veit in 2001
Joe Calzaghe v. Robin Reid in 1999
title no less than seventeen times against a variety of opponents including Robin Reid (1999), Byron Mitchell (2003) in which Calzaghe suffered his first career knockdown, and the German boxer Mario Veit twice - in 2001 & 2005.
Joe with his WBO Championship belt
Joe Calzaghe's most memorable fight to date came on 5th March 2006 when he faced rival IBF Super Middleweight champion Jeff Lacy in Manchester. Lacy was favourite to win that evening. He had a fighting style similar to that of Mike Tyson, with enormous punching power, but that failed to prevent his first ever defeat. Calza
Calzaghe won by a unanimous points decision after a one-sided contest, with the crowd chanting 'easy, easy, easy'! With this win, he retained his WBO title and added the IBF title as well.
Joe Calzaghe floors Jeff Lacy in Round 12
Calzaghe went on to retain both his titles. A close contest over 12 rounds against Sakio Bika in 2006 and an easy three-round defeat of Peter Manfredo Jr. in 2007.
Calzaghe v. Peter Manfredo in 2007
In November 2007, Joe Calzaghe added both the WBA and WBC Super Middleweight titles when he fought Danish boxer Mikkel Kessler (known as the 'Viking Warrior') in Cardiff. Spurred on by 50
Calzaghe defeats Mikkel Kessler in 2007 to win
the WBA & WBC Super Middleweight titles
50,000 patriotic Welshmen, Joe survived one of the toughest fights of his career to win on poi
Having won everything at Super Middleweight, Calzaghe decided to step up to Light Heavyweight. On April 19, 2008, in Las Vegas he fought Bernard Hopkins - it was Joe's fir
first ever fight in the USA. It began badly, with Hopkins knocking Joe down in the first round, but the Welshman th
a points decision.
Joe Calzaghe is floored by Bernard Hopkins
Joe Calzaghe v. Bernard Hopkins in 2008
then dominated, and eventually won 'The Ring' Light Heavyweight Championship on points.
In September 2008, Calzaghe was supposed to meet the veteran American boxer Roy Jones Jr. to defend his Light Heavyweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York in September 2008, but he injured his right hand in training and
and the 'super fight' was postponed until November 2008.
Joe Calzaghe v. Roy Jones Jr. in 2008
Calzaghe with Uncle Sergio, son Connor, dad Enzo
and son Joe after the fight against Roy Jones Jr.
For the second fight in a row Calzaghe was knocked down in the first round, but he gradually took control and, in the eighth round he cut Jones above his left eye. The American bravely fought on but Calzaghe ret
Joe and Enzo Calzaghe
retained his title on a points decision.
Joe Calzaghe retired
from boxing in February 2009 with a record of 46 wins from his 46 fights. He successfully defended his title 21 times and is recognised Ring Magazine as one of the best pound- for-pound fighters in world boxing.
WBC SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT (around waist)
IBF SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT (around waist)
WBO SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT (over left shoulder)
WBA SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT (over right shoulder)
RING MAGAZINE SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT (in left hand)
RING MAGAZINE LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT (in right hand)
In 2007, Joe Calzaghe was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and his father Enzo was voted best tr
Joe married his childhood sweetheart Mandy Davies in 1994 and they had two sons, Joe and Connor. By 2004 they had drifted apart, and very acrimonious divorce procee
trainer / coach.
proceedings followed which threatened Calzaghe's career and live
(left) Joe Calzaghe with the belts he has won during his unbeaten 46-bout career.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2007
livelihood. He then began a long term relationship with the mod
Joe has signed my copy of his book
Joe Calzaghe with Jo-Emma Lavin
model Jo-Emma Lavin. That ended in September 2009, when Calzaghe had a flirtatious asociation with the Russian dance professional Kristina Rihanoff, who was his partner when the pair took part in BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. The couple wer
were eliminated from the competition after five rounds.
In 2007 Joe Calzaghe released his very readable autobiography No Ordinary Joe. The book was ghost-written by Brian Doogan and, apart from some background to Calzaghe's early days at school, it concentrates almost entirely on his undefeated boxing career.
Calzaghe was awarded the MBE in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours List and the CBE in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Sport and Voluntary Service in Wales.
Joe Calzaghe & Kristina Rihanoff in
Strictly Come Dancing
Calzaghe receives his CBE from the Queen
Joe Calzaghe has signed this photo for me. It shows
him after his fight with Mikkel Kessler
This is a small selection of Joe Calzaghe's
fights that are featured on YouTube
contains video footage of Joe's schoolboy championship fights
He is one of Britain's best ever boxers, and retired in 2009 after winning all of his 46 professional fights!
This is another photo I had taken with Joe at the NEC
Joe signing my photograph