Ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final, we look back at how Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury triumphed in their heavyweight showdowns with Italian opposition.
England are yet to defeat the Azzurri in four previous attempts at major tournaments, but two homegrown world heavyweight champions emerged victorious in their clashes with Italians.
Joshua wins Olympic gold
Anthony Joshua became a national hero in 2012 after defeating Italian Roberto Cammarelle to claim Olympic gold in front of his home fans.
Having beaten Cammarelle on his way to silver at the previous year’s world championships, Joshua was one of the medal contenders heading into the London Games.
The Italian made a strong start to the final, but it was AJ who emerged triumphant via count-back after the scores were level at 18-18, giving him the perfect launchpad for his professional career.
AJ starts pro career with big KO
It was over a year before Joshua stepped back in the ring for his professional debut against Emanuele Leo.
Before the bout, the Italian was seen as a threatening first opponent, having won his opening eight bouts.
But in a warning to the heavyweight division, the Brit delivered a devastating stoppage in the opening round, which would prove to be the first of 20 straight knockout victories at the start of his pro career.
Less than three years after this win, he’d be crowned IBF heavyweight champion after overcoming Charles Martin at the O2 Arena.
Fury beats Pianeta to earn WBC title fight
Tyson Fury continued his remarkable comeback against Italy’s former world title challenger Francesco Pianeta in 2018.
After over two years out of the ring, Fury had returned with a stoppage victory against Sefer Seferi before his comfortable points triumph over Pianeta in Belfast set up a showdown with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
Fury had to settle for a split decision draw with Wilder, having climbed off the canvas in the final round, but he would not be denied in the rematch, stopping the American in the seventh round to claim the WBC title.