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“This cannot happen again in the future,” states renowned Italian boxing glove manufacturer, Fillipo Di Nardo. “The Godfather of Boxing Gloves”

Boxing and general martial arts are sports that give us a lot: teach us discipline and playing by the rules; keep us in shape both mentally and physically; provide us with an appreciation of team values; and, they even give some the honor of representing one’s country in events like the Olympic Games.

But, the skills and strategies they give us do not give rogue abusers the right to use them for mindlessly violent, and especially- abhorrently fatal, ways.

Recently, Italy’s renowned boxing glove manufacturer, Fillipo Di Nardo, shared a horrific story on Social Media of a young boy in Rome called Willy who was killed in the street by a group of martial arts fighters. We had the opportunity to speak to him to know what happened, and his warning to boxing coaches and gym owners around the world about what responsibilities they have regarding this.

JabtoJab: Tells us the story of what happened to Willy.  

Fillipo Di Nardo: Basically, this tragedy happened between the night of the 5th and the morning of the 6th of September. 2020. Willy was a 21 year-old young man, who they say was a very nice guy and was studying to be a chef. A normal person, but in the wrong place at the wrong time. Five martial arts fighters started having an argument with Willy’s friends in a street of Italy’s capital, Rome. Willy had nothing to do with the argument, but he tried to help his friends. When he got into the fight, the five fighters turned to him, and punched and kicked him to death. He was not a fighter; not a person who knew how to defend himself.

What happened to these men? The group of five fighters have been arrested and are in jail while there is an investigation and the legal process continues. We need to see what’s going to happen as they investigate why the argument started with Willy’s friends in the first place.

Is this something that happens often in Italy? No, this type of violence does not happen often in Italy, but at the same time, we do have a lot of problems right now because there is lots of immigration from Africa. So, lots of Italians are becoming racists. The news and the media are saying what happened to Willy was for no reason, but I think the reason this young man was killed was because of racism.

How can we prevent this type of situation in the future? You know, young people today are affected by the bad examples on social media, TV, movies. They are becoming more and more arrogant, simply focused on money, and acting like bullies. So that’s why these kinds of things happen.

It is the owners of the gyms and/or the boxing coaches that must be looking for these types of people who may want to use their gyms and/or boxing rings. They must push these types of people away from their gyms. They must not teach the art of fighting to these kind of arrogant people, who just want to use what they learn to take advantage of weaker people, including committing acts like robbing or leaving people in the street like what they did to Willy.

Boxing is a combat sport, of course, so coaches and gym owners have more responsibilities than most to push away the arrogant bullies so they don’t teach them to fight and become worse problems for society.

Our thoughts go out to Willy’s family and friends.

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