Boxer with Nazi tattoos sparks outrage as fight streamed by major broadcaster
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.
Newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport screened a super-featherweight championship bout on its website 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 now investigating how a fighter with those tattoos was able to become a member of the Italian Boxing Federation (IBF).
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 taken part in 16 fights before stepping into the ring on Sunday.
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.
Local media reported authorities in the port city of Trieste, where the bout took place, are investigating whether any criminal charges can be brought to Broili.
Reviving fascism is against Italian law, but it is a rule which is not often enforced as the prosecution would need to prove that Broili was attempting to revive the movement with his gesture.
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An IBF statement said its members should not take part in discriminatory behaviour, though it did not explain how Broili had managed to join the body and take part in so many fights without any red flags being raised.
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."
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