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Euro bantam title stays in Spain

The Ring magazine, 1979 
by Jack Tree
Almeria, Spain


Johnny Owen (twenty three), fighting away from home, challenged Juan Francisco Rodriguez, Spain for the European bantamweight title. The bout took place at Almeria, Spain, and Rodriguez won the fifteen-rounder on points. The champion, although favored by the third man, Marcello Bertini, (Italy) when it came to the verdict, found himself cautioned three times in the first two rounds for holding. In the fifth, he was warned for butting and in round twelve received a public warning which lost him the round. It took almost five minutes for the officials to do their arithmetic and the ring was full of excited Spaniards, which did not help any. Bertini made Rodriguez the winner by 145-144, one judge made it a draw 146-146, and the other favored the champion by 145-144.

The bout was made over fifteen rounds, which was contrary to the EBU rules which were amended in November last, reducing the number of rounds for a European title fight from fifteen to twelve. Rodriguez (twenty nine), was a good amateur, winning the flyweight title in Madrid in 1971 and a silver at the 1974 world championships. At the Munich Olympics, he made the quarter finals. Turning professional rather late at twenty seven, he has now won eleven of his fourteen starts. He lost in five rounds to WBC champion Carlos Zarate. The Spanish authorities deducted $4,000 from Owen's purse money. They say this amount is owing to a Spanish boxer who fought in Britain last year.
















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