Once again the world of boxing had its eyes firmly fixed on the nation of Malta on October 2nd. It was the third spectated boxing event that the small country had hosted since the summer.
At a time when most other countries are cancelling their shows or holding them behind closed doors due to COVID-19, last Friday’s event underlines the fact that having fans in attendance is possible if the right safety measures are taken.
The Prize Boxing Promotions event was headlined by Christian ‘Coqqos’ Schembri who scored a convincing points victory over game Bulgarian Angel Emilov. Interestingly, it was the second fight in a row in which Schembri headlined and worked as a co-promoter.
After the bout Schembri commented: “Fighting in this event was stressful to say the least, as the promotional side of things were a nightmare due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, with hard work and determination we put on a great show and myself and the other fighters got an opportunity to fight when most of boxing in other countries is at a standstill.
“I am thrilled with the victory and my performance against an experienced opponent who had the potential to cause an upset. I was able to use what me and Steve Martin [Schembri’s trainer] practiced in countless rounds on the pads and in sparring. I feel I am still improving and my best is yet to come. Can’t wait to step it up again in 2021.”
Schembri’s previous fight was a unanimous points victory over old rival Scott Dixon in July.
Also on the card was local boxer and WBC Mediterranean Champion Haithem Laamouz. Laamouz, paired against Slaveya Stefanov, finished off his opponent with relative ease in the first round.
Having not fought since winning the WBC belt last year, Laamouz was clearly delighted with the result: “It feels good to be back and brush off the rust; I had over my 18 month lay-off due to an injury. This fight was to test my arm, reflexes, and move about. All went well, and now it’s time to take on stronger challenges.” He now moves to 16-1 in his professional career.
Malta’s love affair with prize-fighting is well known, but their ability to stage fan-attended events when other nations can’t, means that many other nations are now taking an interest in their thriving boxing scene. One to keep an eye on.