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Rocchigiani handed assault charge

Rocchigiani has a history of being in trouble with the police

BERLIN, Germany -- Germany's former world champion boxer Graciano Rocchigiani has been charged with assault after allegedly punching a taxi driver in Berlin.

The 40-year-old former light-heavyweight world champion, who has a history of trouble with the law, was taken to a police station after the incident outside a hotel on Sunday evening.

Rocchigiani, who was later released after a blood test, has been charged with serious assault, a police spokesman said.

The former boxer is alleged to have punched the taxi driver in an altercation after the driver had been unable to change a large-denomination bank note.

Police said Rocchigiani was under the influence of alcohol. According to Bild newspaper, he had to be overpowered by six policemen after the taxi driver had used pepper spray against him.

Rocchigiani, nicknamed "Rocky", has a reputation for violence outside the ring. After two suspended sentences, he spent eight months in jail until his early release in November 2002 for assault on police, drink-driving and driving without a licence.

Bild said the latest incident could prove serious for the former WBC world light heavyweight and IBF world super middleweight champion as the release was conditional on good behaviour for three years.

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