Francesco Damiani is an Italian former professional boxer….who as an amateur won a silver medal in the super heavyweight division at both the 1982 World Amateur Boxing Championships and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics….after losing the gold medal fight to USA Tyrell Biggs. He was the first WBO heavyweight champion….also holding the European heavyweight title. Damiani began his pro career on a tear….posting 27 consecutive victories over limited opposition. He defeated Tyrell Biggs in a rematch of their Olympic meeting….stopping him on a cut, and then won the newly created WBO Heavyweight title with a 3rd round KO victory over Johnny DuPlooy on May 6, 1989. Damiani hit a brick wall when he took on 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist Ray Mercer in 1991 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Damiani was ahead on points but went down after a Mercer left uppercut broke his nose….as he was counted out by the referee in the 9th round. Damiani would come back in 1992 to take a decision over former champion Greg Page….but was KO’d in the following bout in 1993 by Oliver McCall…thus ending his career.
Tyrell Biggs is an American former boxer who fought in the heavyweight division….who won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in the super heavyweight division….after winning bronze the previous year at the 1983 Pan American Games. His professional career spanned a period of fourteen years, from 1984 to 1998….as he turned professional soon after his Olympic victory….scoring a 6 round unanimous decision over Mike Evans on November 15, 1984 at Madison Square Garden in New York City in his first bout. Besides Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Damiani….he went on to face such other boxing luminaries as James “Quick” Tillis, Ossie Ocasio, Riddick Bowe, Tony Tubbs, Buster Mathis, Jr., and Larry Donald before ending his career with a second round knockout of Carlton Davis in 1998. He never won a title….but stalked the rankings of contenders for much of the mid to late 1980’s….with his biggest pro fight being against Tyson, for the latter’s undisputed heavyweight title. Biggs and Tyson disliked each other, and Biggs bad mouthed Tyson before the fight. Biggs attempted to outbox Tyson, using his jab and movement. But Tyson kept coming in and landing big punches….wearing him down until the fight was stopped in the 7th. Tyson admitted after the fight to carrying Biggs so he could inflict more damage….to avenge Biggs’ pre-match comments.
Many observers of this 1984 Los Angeles Olympics super heavyweight boxing gold medal fight between Biggs and Damiani was won by the Italian boy.