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
The champion, although favoured 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 favoured 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.