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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Ken Sigurani

Posted on May 5 2015                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Clive Baum



Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.

Youngstown, Ohio is, when it comes to boxing, best known as the hometown of notable names Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Harry Arroyo and Kelly Pavlik, but the steel production hotbed also produced former WBF World Welterweight champion Ken “The Cobra” Sigurani.


Kenneth Sigurani came into this world on April 2 1973, and is a graduate of Youngstown State University. Likely inspired by the massive success and hype of local heros Mancini and Arroyo, he picked up boxing early on and embarked on a fine amateur career that eventually lead him to making his professional debut on July 22 1994.

Sigurani won his first paid contest with ease, knocking out one Charles Miller in the first round of their fight in Youngstown, and inside only four months he had established a fine 5-0 (3) record. In 1995 he was also very active, racking up another eight victories and improving his undefeated ledger to 13-0 (5).

Having already won fights over the eight round distance several times, Sigurani was kept on the fast-track as 1996 began. In January he stopped the usually tough George Sams (8-8) in three rounds, and in April he was matched with fellow prospect Richard McGill (9-1-1), in what was to be his first real test.

In a battle for local pride, McGill fighting out of nearby Lima, Ohio, Sigurani passed the test and won a twelve-round decision in front of a loud crowd at the Metro Plex Center in Youngstown. His career was progressing nicely, but, while undefeated, some though things were moving a bit too fast when news broke of his next outing.

Going on the road to Bristol, Tennessee, Sigurani took on experienced Bobby Elkins (22-4) on July 14 1976, with the vacant WBF World Welterweight title on the line. From Nashville, Elkins was the local favorite, and had fought much better opposition than Sigurani who was largely unknown outside of Ohio.

But, fired up by the challenge at hand, Sigurani took Elkins, and many if the fans at ringside, by surprise when he largely dominated the fight, and eventually stopped Elkins in the ninth round to become world champion less than two years after his pro debut.

Two months after his big night in Bristol, Sigurani stayed busy with a ten-round unanimous decision over Miami-based Cuban Alex Quiroga (9-1-2), on a show promoted by Bob Arum´s Top Rank at the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in Chester, West Virginia.

Sigurani vs. Quiroga was the co-featured bout on the card, with legendary Roberto Duran stopping Mike Culbert in the headliner and future world champion Paul Spadafora boxing on the undercard. 23 years old and 17-0, Ken Sigurani was certainly making his way in the sport.

His first defense of the WBF world title was set for December 22 1996, close to home, in Struthers, Ohio, against another undefeated boxer in Robert “Puch Up” Frazier (13-0), a 1992 National Golden Gloves champion from Rochester, New York.

While Frazier was a quality challenger and would remain a world-class contender for many years to come, win titles and fight, even beat, big names, he was no match for Sigurani on the night, as the defending champion won a clear unanimous decision.

But four months later, in April 1997, the Sigurani express came to an abrupt halt in the mountain city of Altoona, Pennsylvania. In what was supposed to be another profile-building showcase against former IBF World Featherweight Champion Antonio Rivera (34-12-2) from Puerto Rico, disaster struck.

With three losses in a row, albeit against very good opposition, Rivera was not expected to give the WBF world champion too many problems, but the veteran caught Sigurani with a hard shot early, and stopped the favorite only 1:26 into the first round.

While it was not a title fight, the loss to Rivera meant that Sigurani was stripped of the WBF title. He bounced back well, and won four straight fights within a year, lining up a massive opportunity for himself against living legend Julio Cesar Chavez (99-2-2).

On another big Top Rank promotion, this time at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, Sigurani started the fight against Chavez well, and at times held his own with the iconic Mexican. But, after a few entertaining rounds, Chavez over-powered Sigurani and eventually made him his eighty-first knockout victim in round three.

Only four months after the Chavez fight, in October 1998, Sigurani was given a second chance to return to the top, when he was pitted against another former multiple world champion and Hall-of-Famer in Puerto Rican superstar Hector “Macho” Camacho (65-4-1).

Fighting live on ESPN, “The Cobra” did much better this time, giving Camacho all he could handle for ten rounds, and many felt he was done wrong when only one of the judges saw him as the winner, and Camacho was awarded a split decision.

The Camacho fight would be Sigurani´s last bout, and in some ways a very credible way to go out. While he didn’t win, he proved that he was still a quality operator, and he didn’t end his career on his back, as is the case for many former world champions.

With a final record of 22-3 (8), all three losses against former world champions and two of them outright legends, Ken Sigurani still lives in the Youngstown area, where he works at General Motors.

In 2007 he embarked on a short career as a professional boxing judge, and as late as 2014 he fought a charity exhibition bout against fellow Youngstown boxer Jake Giuriceo.

  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson
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