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Paul Spadafora captured the fascination of a city with a storied boxing history by becoming its first world champion in a half-century, earning him a nod to the legendary Billy Conn as the new Pittsburgh Kid.
Spadafora needs no reminder of his reign as International Boxing Federation lightweight champion, as he has tattoos of the belt and the years he held it on his ink-covered torso that is a testimony to his family after a troubled childhood that saw him lose his father and almost ended his boxing dreams when he was shot in the leg by police as a teenager. “I had it for five years,” Spadafora said. “Eight title defenses. It wasn’t no accident.”
Now 37, Spadafora is trying to overcome a checkered past by capitalizing on his undefeated record. At 48-0-1 with 19 knockouts, he has returned to top-10 status, this time in the light welterweight division, and remains one of the most attractive contenders for a world title.