A trio of Italian fighters came to Vegas on a mission and they made a huge statement after it was all said and done.
Micol Disegni, Lucrezia Ria, and Maria Vittoria Colonna all made it to the finals of the IMMAF 2015 World amateur tournament, with Disegni and Ria gaining the gold in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions respectfully. Colonna took home a silver at strawweight.
“We left Italy knowing out team was really strong,” Colonna told us. “We know it is a really hard tournament. It takes a little bit of luck but you need a lot of concentration and that’s what we did.”
Italy has just recently expanded their female divisions, having held several pro and amateur matches in the past year. It was Disegni who was a part of the tournament last year and had helped spark the movement for female fighting in her home country.
“I have learned so much from last year. I was at the 2014 IMMAF and lost to the eventual winner. I learn so much from that fight. I focused the past year on what was missing from my grappling, which was my strength. I kept training in wrestling to make it better. I trained with Maria, a national champion in kickboxing and undefeated, so my striking improved so much. I was unable to strike, punch, or kick well at last year’s tournament and I dedicated this year to improving my striking and I am proud of what I accomplished this year.”
Although Colonna had a solid amateur kickboxing career and many opportunities to fight there, she decided to dedicate herself to MMA.
“I am a five time national champion (in kickboxing) and I found there was something missing in that sport. That’s the reason I started to do MMA.”
Ria had trained in Judo before taking up MMA. An injury served as a good reason to concentrate on her striking going into the sport. Judo, however, helped make the transition to MMA easier.
“Judo teaches you a lot about physical contact, so you get used to MMA in which physical contact is something you have to deal with often.”
Like many countries, the stigma of female fighting is the biggest obstacle. This barrier is slowly coming down in Italy.
“In Italy it was so difficult to see girls fighting because of the idea of them doing so,” DiSegni observed. “Now everyone can see we can do the same sports as boys and still be feminine. Colonna is a mom. I am a model. You can fight and don’t have to look like a boy to be strong and successful.”
“The people are getting used to see the female fights,” Colonna added. “We live in a country full of Catholics so the perspective of women is different.”
The trip to the IMMAF tournament not only meant putting their names on the world stage, but gaining inspiration and prospective on the global women’s division scene.
“Meeting Joanna (Jedrzejczyk) gave me so much strength; to look her in the eyes and see the strength in her eyes in such a pretty girl meant a lot to me. Her eyes were so fierce. It made me be so proud of being a female fighter. I went to see Invicta to see Cyborg and the other girl fighters, and these fighters are the reason why I am a female fighter. Seeing such strong girls make me proud to be a female fighter.”
The team agrees the exposure from the tournament and the connections they have made will give them opportunities not only to expand the sport in Italy, but a chance to fight around the world.
“I really hope there are more and more fights for girls in Italy,” DiSigni commented. “I am planning on turning pro after my tournament win, and fight some pro fights in Italy and then Europe, then hopefully get into America as well.”
Colonna also expressed interest in turning pro soon.
Italy is well on its way to creating a thriving female fighting scene and don’t be surprised if you see any of these three talented athletes on a major card sometime soon.