One week after dismantling his opponent for the title of European Union Champion, Maltese boxer Haithem Laamouz already has his eyes set on the bigger feat.
“It’s like winning the Champions League,” Laamouz told Lovin Malta as he reflected on his monumental win against Super Mario Alfano to claim the title.
“It feels good knowing I helped get Malta into the big league and put the country on the boxing map,” he said.
View this post on Instagram
Last year, Laamouz claimed the WBC Mediterranean title, which garnered the attention of promoters around Europe who selected him as a challenger for the prestigious European Union Featherweight bout.
On just one month’s notice, Laamouz travelled to Rome to face Italian featherweight Mario Alfano on his home turf. Alfanso is currently ranked fourth in Italy and has a record of 15 wins and 2 losses, one courtesy of the Maltese man himself.
“Usually I go to the UK to train for six weeks but because of the COVID-19 situation I had to train here,” Laamouz continued. “I knew I had a disadvantage but I wanted to take the chance,” he said.
With the help of his local boxing comrades, including champion boxer Scott Dixon and locally-renowned boxer Steve Martin, Laamouz set out to train for the fight in just four weeks.
“I was going to different gyms. Everyone was helping me and motivated me. They put in the work and I was prepared for the fight. It was like we were Team Malta,” he said.
The 12-round bout took place at Palaboxe Aurelio Santoro in Rome on 4th December. After 12 rounds, Laamouz was declared the unanimous winner and the new European Union Featherweight Champion.
“Super Mario is a puncher and he’s aggressive but I had studied him for the past month and how to tackle him each and every round,” he said. “During the first third of the fight, I was relatively defensive, absorbing his power shots and counter-attacking. In the second third his power started to drop, his hits weren’t landing. That’s when I started being more offensive.”
“In the last third, he was getting desperate, throwing strong wild swinging hooks which I managed to block. I finished him off with combinations and evasive tacks. Basically, he was slowing down and I kept my pace,” Laamouz said.
For the 31-year-old boxer, this fight is just the beginning of another chapter in his career and the Maltese champion is ready to get back on the saddle.
“I’m not done, I’m taking a small break for Christmas but in January I’ll get back to work,” he said.
As for the future of boxing in Malta, Laamouz has high hopes that the island will produce some big names in the years to come.
“There’s potential here under the right guys, there are people here who can do well,” he ended.
Tag someone who loves boxing