European boxing champion Francesco Damiani of Italy won an unofficial semifinal for the world heavyweight title when a doctor stopped Tyrell Biggs in the fifth round Saturday night at Milan, Italy.
Biggs, 27, of Philadelphia, was bleeding heavily from a deep right eyebrow cut when doctor Mario Sturla stepped into the ring and ended the fight 1 minute 6 seconds into the round. The bout was scheduled for 10 rounds.
It was sweet revenge for Damiani, 30, who had been outpointed by Biggs in their three previous amateur fights, including the Olympic final at Los Angeles in 1984.
The Italian, unbeaten as a pro, was leading on points when the fight was stopped, bringing cheers from a partisan crowd of 5,000.
The victory, Damiani’s 22nd in as many bouts, could set up a bout with world champion Mike Tyson.
Manager Umberto Branchini said Damiani may fight Tyson in the 80,000-seat Meazza soccer stadium of Milan next June, after a defense of his European crown. Tyson is scheduled to stage a title defense against Britain’s Frank Bruno in Las Vegas next January.
Biggs, making a comeback after a knockout loss to Tyson in a title fight 12 months ago, is 15-2.
Greg Haugen retained his International Boxing Federation lightweight title Friday night by knocking out Gert Bo Jacobsen of Denmark in the 10th round of their scheduled 12-round bout at Copenhagen.
Haugen, 28, connected with a right cross and Jacobsen, the former European champion, slumped in his corner where his trainer threw in the towel.
Haugen said he planned next to challenge two Mexican lightweight champions, Julio Cesar Chavez (World Boxing Assn.) and Jose Ramirez (World Boxing Council), who fought Saturday night in Las Vegas.