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Aussie's Fighting Chance for Gold

15 Mar 06 08:47

Young Aussie boxer Lenny Zappavigna is being likened to the great Jeff Fenech. 

Young Aussie boxer Lenny
 Zappavinga is being likened
 to the great Jeff Fenech (pictured).

Young boxer Leonardo (Lenny) Zappavigna is considered one of Australia’s gold medal prospects at the Commonwealth Games. Being hailed as Australia’s next Jeff Fenech, the 18-year-old Sydney cabinet maker has a lot to live up to.

Zappavigna warmed up for the Melbourne Games by claiming 60kg gold at the recent Norway Cup in Oslo. He was also named boxer of the 12-nation Oslo event.

Australia’s assistant coach, Mick Daly, who founded the Gladstone Amateur Boxing Club in Queensland 12 years ago and who has had the opportunity to nurture many young boxers, rates Zappavigna highly.

“His trainer Tommy Mercuri describes him as a small Jeff Fenech, but more powerful," he said. “We count him as one of our best chances for gold.”

Zappavigna was faced with a difficult moment at the Australian training camp when he met Western Australian lightweight, Anthony Little, who he replaced in the Australian boxing team. Little’s appeal against his removal from the team for a rules breach was turned down the same day.

"It could have been difficult but they got together and it was great to see - Anthony took it on the chin and wished him good luck," Daly said.

"When Anthony arrived at the camp we knew someone was going to leave that afternoon, we just didn't know which one. No one would really want that hanging over your head but Lenny handled it well. It hasn't fazed him one bit."

Jeff Fenech or the “Marrackville Mauler” as he was known as a boxer was one of the toughest fighters of his era. He won titles in three weight divisions, capturing the IBF bantamweight title in1985, the WBC super bantamweight championship in 1987, and the WBC featherweight crown in 1988.

The Games Boxing competition begins on 17 March and continues through to 25 March at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

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