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The Duce’s Boxer

In front of a full audience, the Italian Cultural Institute in London hosted yesterday the screening of the documentary “The Duce’s Boxer” which looks at the life of Leone Jacovacci, a black Italian boxer who challenged Benito Mussolini’s ideology by winning a European boxing title.

Jacovacci, an African Italian born in the Congo won the 1928 European middleweight title by beating Mario Bosisio, a white Italian boxer supported by the country’s Fascist leaders, in front of 40,000 fans in Rome’s National Stadium.

Mussolini, outraged, then ordered Jacovacci and his achievement erased from Italy’s history books. But 89 years later, Jacovacci’s story has been resurrected. “Based on the book “Black Roman” by Italian sociologist Mauro Valeri, a former head of the country’s National Xenophobia Observatory, “The Duce’s Boxer” is directed by first-timer Tony Saccucci. Saccucci used archive footage from Italian state film institution Istituto Luce and photos provided by Jacovacci’s family.

“The Duce’s Boxer” has gained international media attention. Among others, CNN covered it with a feature report by Christiane Amanpour, while Tom Kington, Rome correspondent for The Times, wrote an article providing insight into the documentary and this long-forgotten story.

The screening of the documentary was introduced and followed by a Q&A session with the director Tony Saccucci.

The Duce’s Boxer has been nominated for the best documentary category in the 57th Edition of the Globo d’Oro Awards by the Foreign Press Association.

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