MILAN, Italy -- Giacobbe Fragomeni, competing in front of his hometown fans, became a world champion at age 39 Friday when his fight with Rudolf Kraj for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title was stopped in the eighth round.
Fragomeni was leading 77-74 on all three judges' cards when the fight was stopped because of a cut above his eye sustained in the previous round from an illegal headbutt.
Kraj, who was attempting to become the first world champion from the Czech Republic, lost for the first time in 15 fights.
Fragomeni (26-1) earned his first world title in front of about 3,500 fans. It was the first time in 23 title bouts held in Milan that a local had a chance to win a title.
The WBC title was vacated by Britain's David Haye, who moved up to heavyweight. Fragomeni's only defeat was to Haye in 2006.