The Italian boxing world has been plunged into disrepute after a major broadcaster in the country live streamed a fight featuring a man sporting fascist tattoos and Nazi symbols on his body.
Gazzetta dello Sport screened a superweight championship fight on Sunday night.
Involved in the fight were Hassan Nourdine, a Morocco-born naturalised Italian, and Michele Broili, whose chest is covered with “obscene” tattoos including an SS logo and the number 88, often used by neo-Nazis to replace the letters HH or ‘Heil Hitler’.
Authorities are investigating how the fighter with these tattoos became a member in good standing of the Italian Boxing Federation.
Nourdine said he was shocked when he saw his opponent’s tattoos after entering the ring, and said these is “no justification” for having such symbols inked on his body.
“Seeing Broili’s tattoos glorifying Nazism disgusted me,” Nourdine, 34, told Italian newspaper La Stampa.
“[The IBF] should have realised this boxer had certain leanings – the incitement of hatred is punishable by law.”
Broili had participated in 16 fights prior to stepping into the ring.
Nourdine defeated his opponent – a victory which felt all the more sweet to the migrant boxer.
“I cannot deny that beating someone with those tattoos is a victory worth double,” Nourdine said.
According to local media, authorities in Trieste are looking into whether Broili can face criminal charges.
Although it is against Italian law to revive fascism, this rule isn’t often enforced. Broili would need to prove that he was trying to revive it with his gesture.
You want to stay up-to-date with the latest football news and information?
Get the Daily Star email newsletter for football news!
Get the most recent transfer news and agenda-setting stories in your inbox.
How do I sign up?
It takes only seconds.
Just type your email address in the box at top of the article and click’subscribe.
It’s that easy. Every morning, you’ll get an email with the latest news stories.
Click this link to learn more about our email newsletter.
Although the IBF stated its members should not engage discriminatory behaviour, it did not explain Broili’s ability to join the body without raising red flags.
The under-fire fighter has not commented on the situation, though coach Denis Conte said: “Michele only talks about sport and only wants to do sport.
“Michele is the prototype of the athlete who wakes up at four in the morning to train.”