By Per Ake Persson
Olli Maki, one of the greatest fighters ever in Finland, passed away at the age of 82 Saturday morning. Maeki was an excellent amateur with over 300 contests and turned pro in 1960 where he was quickly moved up the ranks losing to then British champ and future World and EBU champ Howard Winstone in his sixth fight.
Maki challenged then world featherweight champ Davey Moore in the summer of 62 and went through hell in making 126. He made it but had nothing left and was stopped in the second round. The movie The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki is about the preparations for the fight and it is in many ways a very good film but it fails to tell about the career Maki had through the 60´s where he became EBU jr welter champ and took on the likes Sandro Lopopolo, Conny Rudhof, Pedro Carrasco, Miguel Velazquez and Borje Krogh.
Maki retired in 1973 with a record of 28-14-8. In retirement he stayed in boxing as a coach and worked in the construction business and did well. Son Pekka is a renowned trainer and also promoter.
Argentinean super middleweight Mateo Damian Veron (28-23-3) lost a close and according to some sources disputed call to German Leon Bauer in Wolfsburg Saturday night and apparently came through the fight all right and is thus ready for Lolenga Mock and a fight for the vacant IBA world title May 18 in Aarhus (Denmark).
It deserves to be noticed that while ex-champ Felix Sturm was arrested in Germany this past weekend for what apparently has to do with charges of unpaid taxes, the charges against him for testing positive for illegal substances, in the aftermath of the Fedor Chudinov rematch, have been dropped.
It´s been expected for some time that a showdown against another German ex-champ, Arthur Abraham, would be announced.
EBU super featherweight champ Samir Ziani (30-3-1) stayed busy with a six round points win over Wallington Orobio (19-5) in Blagnac Friday (April 5). Ziani will defend the title against Belgian Faroukh Kourbanov on September 27 in Agen.
In the main event of the Blagnac show Finland´s Tomi Silvennoinen (9-1) upset local hero Sirak Harkbyan (18-4-1) and won the WBC Youth Silver title at super welter.
Canadian light heavyweight Ryan Ford (16-4) knocked out Serge Michel (8-1) in the eighth to win the WBC Int´l Silver title. This fight topped a big show staged by Petko´s Box Promotion.
In another fight at 175 Konni Konrad, (24-2-1) stopped Artan Avetisyan (18-2-1) to win the vacant German – BDB version – title.
Unbeaten heavyweight Petar Milas, (16-0) stopped veteran Denis Bakhtov (39-15).