Boxing had not returned to the central Roland-Garros for nearly half a century and the evening could not begin without a tribute to the most illustrious ambassador of the sport and most famous lover of the place. Even if his chair remained empty, everyone this Friday evening had a thought for Jean-Paul Belmondo. The 8,500 spectators paid him a vibrant tribute, yet another. A box, the box he occupied for so long at the Philippe-Chartrier central, now bears his name. Bébel will forever be associated with Roland-Garros and he is the first non-tennis player to have this honor. Combining boxing, tennis and Roland-Garros on the day of his burial: that’s what, up there, must have made him laugh.
The three boxers of the “Team Solid”, medalists at the Olympic Games in Rio, each tried to pay tribute to their most famous fan. Mathieu Bauderlique, bronze medalist in Brazil opened the ball. The Northerner set out to conquer the vacant European light heavyweight belt against Russian Igor Mikhalkin. He returns to the north with the trophy around his waist. Hit in the eye and drunk with beatings, the Russian threw in the towel at the end of the 8th round. This victory, for once in full light, should offer the Frenchman who now has 21 victories for a single defeat offers him a passport to a future world chance.
Returning to an impressive ovation which said how much this guy is appreciated, Souleymane Cissokho rubbed shoulders with another Russian Sergey Lubkovich. The Parisian came to defend his WBA intercontinental super welterweight belt. This is the first time he has reboxed in France for two years. Unbeaten before the evening in 13 fights, Cissokho is still. Under the eyes, in particular, of Yannick Noah, Nikola and Luka Karabatic who came with a bang after their match against Istres a stone’s throw away, Pascal Obispo and especially the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, the Frenchman walked around. “I bumped into the president by chance at a restaurant a few days ago,” Cissokho laughs. He had promised to come. He kept his word and it is an honor. “
Open to the arcade in the third round, the bald, bearded Russian tried to put on a good face. But in front of him, he had a boy with a boxing IQ very above average. So much so that Lubkovich, groggy and knocked out, preferred not to return to the ring to play the fifth round. Professional work, as usual. “I have no words, relishes Cissokho, I’m very happy. We don’t talk about it enough but there is the preparation, a lot of things outside the ring that we don’t see. I didn’t have to box, I hardly had the right. But I wanted it because I missed my audience. I work a lot. I know there is level in the category, but that’s it I feel ready. I hope that for my next fight, I will take a world top 10. I want them all ! I have no barriers. “In a magical place and in front of the whole of Paris, he showed that everything is open to him.