An Italian boxer has sparked a national outrage following a title fight after it has emerged his body contains Neo-Nazi tattoos.
The boxer in question, 28-year-old Michele Broili, was defeated in Trieste on Sunday night in a battle for the super-featherweight title by his opponent Hassan Nourdine, 34; a battle that reignited a long-running debate in Italy about the public display of Nazi and fascist symbols.
Nourdine - a Moroccan-born immigrant raised in Italy - was hailed as a hero by the Italian media for his grit and bravery, but controversy has shrouded the fight's aftermath as authorities rush to investigate Broili's tattoos.
They have also been heavily criticized for not acting sooner.
One of the controversial tattoos includes a flag with an SS inscription inked and following the fight's conclusion, Nourdine expressed his dismay at how such a figure was ever allowed to become a member of the Italian Boxing Federation.
"When I got into the ring and saw those tattoos, I was shocked," Nourdine told La Stampa.
"I found those tattoos obscene. There is no justification.
"The Italian Boxing Federation should have realised from the beginning that this boxer had those sympathies. Inciting hatred is punishable by law."
The match was broadcast live on the Gazzetta Dello Sport website, the largest sports newspaper in Italy. It provoked anger in thousands of viewers, who vocally objected to the numerous Nazi symbols tattooed on Broili's body.
Alongside the SS flag, these included the number 88, a well-known white supremacist code for Heil Hitler; the Totenkopf, a symbol of the paramilitary unit that helped run concentration camps in Nazi Germany; and the logo of a skinhead organisation from Veneto.
Before the bout, Broili also made the fascist salute to his staff; a gesture which could see him banned from competing in the Italian Federation.
Local media have since reported that police are now delving into the incident with a potential criminal investigation on the cards, due to a law that prohibits all attempts to glorify and promote fascist ideology in a public setting.
The Italian Boxing Federation released a statement saying that all its members must refrain from any discriminatory behaviour.
As per The Guardian, it said it would 'submit the case to the sports justice body'. However, the federation did not explain why such action was not taken sooner in the tournament.
Broili recorded 16 professional matches before the latest one on Sunday.
There were also numerous eye-witness reports claiming that Broili's supporters were allegedly singing Nazi songs and exchanging salutes with each other prior to the bout.
Following the bout, Nourdine added: "For me, all this is not normal. But I cannot deny that beating someone with those tattoos is a victory worth double."Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@michelebroili93