ROME (AP) – Boxer Giovanni Parisi, a former Olympic and world champion, died in a car accident in northern Italy on Wednesday. He was 41.

Parisi died when the car he was driving collided head on with a van on a highway outside the town of Voghera, where he lived, police said. The cause of the accident was under investigation, said police official Alessandro Casanova.

Parisi won the featherweight gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

He was the WBO lightweight champion from 1992-94, when he stepped up to junior welterweight. Parisi lost a decision to Julio Cesar Chavez for the WBC crown in 1995, but won the WBO version in 1996 and held it for two years.

He was knocked out trying to claim the WBO welterweight title in 2000, then fought only three times before his last reported bout in 2006, a loss for the European welterweight title.

Parisi finished with a pro record of 41-5-1 and 29 KOs.

“He was in a league of his own,” Italian boxing great Nino Benvenuti told Italy’s SKY TV. “He was very precise, very technically well-prepared, sometimes he just needed to touch his opponents … so they had watch to out for a surprise punch.”

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