Making his return to the ring after a one-year hiatus, Greg “The Villain” Vendetti took care of business and took home a title belt from Connecticut.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vendetti hadn’t boxed since his WBA world title bout against Erislandy Lara on national television on August 29, 2020.
After shaking off some ring rust in the opening rounds in the Sept. 24 main event at the Hartford Civic Center, Vendetti earned a 10-round split-decison victory over Jimmy Williams to capture the World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver junior middleweight title.
The “split” part of the decision irked Vendetti’s trainer, Joe Ricciardi, somewhat (one of the judges had Vendetti winning by a 99-91 margin), but Ricciardi was very pleased with his fighter’s overall performance in his opponent’s backyard.
“I honestly felt Greg was going to knock him out, but what happened was the 13 months of not being in the ring caused some ring rust, but after a few rounds, he got some bounce in his motion, and Greg just pummeled him with a barrage of punches,” said Ricciardi.
Vendetti, who trains at the Broadway Boxing Club that is run by Dennis Willcox and Joe Ricciardi, felt he was in control of the fight from the opening bell.
“I thought we won every round, but I got the belt and that’s the most important thing,” said Vendetti. “I did learn that ring rust is definitely a real thing. I never really experienced that kind of layoff before, but it did take a few rounds to warm up.”
Vendetti said he applied all his boxing skills in the fight, showcasing his pressure, power, footwork, and head movement throughout the bout.
“I felt going into the fight, I was well-prepared and had fought better fighters, so I had a lot more experience than my opponent,” said Vendetti. “It was definitely a different experience than fighting during the COVID-19 era when there were no fans at my last fight.”
He sees the new title belt as a step forward in his quest to be the undisputed champion in his division.
“It’s definitely a good win – it puts more eyes on me,” said Vendetti. “I feel we’ll get another big fight soon.”
Ricciardi said Vendetti is rising in the WBC rankings and the team is looking at its options.
“The fight we’re really trying to get is [former welterweight world champion] Danny Garcia,” said Ricciardi. “We’ll feel it would be a great fight for Greg style-wise. We’d love to have the fight at Encore [Boston Harbor].”
Indeed, Vendetti is now considered one of New England’s brightest boxing prospects. His previous fight at Encore drew a tremendous crowd, and the hope among the entire Boston boxing community is that Encore hosts a major boxing show in 2022 and Greg Vendetti tops the card.
Meanwhile, some are questioning whether Vendetti may want to change his villainous nickname. “He may be the villain to his opponent, but he’s one of the nicest, most admired guys in the entire sport because of his grit, his determination and his dedication to his craft,” said one observer. “There are many people rooting for him to be champion of the world.”
Villain or not, the future is bright for Greg Vendetti.