OLYMPIC GAMES

Which Olympic boxer has won the most medals?

Since its introduction at the 1904 Games, the boxing has produced some memorable gold medalists, including Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks.

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Which Olympic boxer has won the most medals?
STAFF AFP

Boxing was first introduced as an Olympic sport at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, the third edition of the summer showpiece. It was exclusively an event for men up until the 2012 London Olympics when a women boxing event were organised in three weight classes - flyweight, lightweight and middleweight. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there are eight weight classes for the men’s event and five for the women’s.

Famous boxing medalists

Some of the sports’ most recognizable figures have added an Olympic medal to their list of achievements - Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) won the light heavyweight event in Rome in 1960. Others who have graced the podium over the years include Leon Spinks, Oscar De La Hoya who won gold at Barcelona 92 and Floyd Mayweather Jr. who picked up the bronze in Atlanta in 1996.

By country, the United States have won the most boxing medals overall (114 in all weight classes) and the most gold medals (50); they are followed by Cuba (37 gold, 19 silver, 17 bronze - 73) and Great Britain (18 gold, 13 silver and 25 bronze - 56) although those figure will change on Tuesday after the men’s welterweight (63-69kg) final in which Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias will step into the ring with Team GB’s Pat McCormack. Boxers from the same two countries will battle it out in the light heavyweight final on Wednesday - Arlen López (Cuba) and Benjamin Whittaker (Great Britain).

Cuban boxing legends

So it’s hardly surprising that two Cubans, both amateurs, top the list of boxers who have won more than one Olympic gold medal. Felix Savón is one of three boxers to have won three Olympic gold medals. He defeated Nigeria’s David Izonritei in the men’s heavyweight final in Barcelona in 1992, and defended his title four years later in Atlanta, beating Canada’s David Defiagbon. He did it again in 2000 Sydney, beating Russian Sultan Ibragimov over four rounds to claim his third gold in 12 years.

Savón’s compatriot Teófilo Stevenson, who famously turned down a million-dollar offer to fight Ali as he wanted to remain amateur, won back-to-back Olympic heavyweight titles in Munich 72, Montreal 76 and Moscow 80. Winning his first by default after his opponent Ion Alexe was forced to withdraw from the final with a broken thumb.

The only other boxer to have won three Olympic golds was the great László Papp, who ended his career undefeated with 15 KOs. The Budapest-born boxer’s first time on the podium was at the London Games in 1948 when he defeated Great Britain’s Johnny Wright on points to win the middleweight event at Earl’s Court. He won gold in Helsinki in 1952 and again in Melbourne in 1956 but in the now defunct light middleweight division.

Three boxers - Zou Shiming (China), Oleg Saitov (Russia) and Boris Lagutin (former USSR), all won two gold medals and one bronze. One man has a chance of entering the all-time Olympic boxing medals list at Tokyo - Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov picked up the flyweight gold in Rio and will meet Filipino Carlo Paalam in Tuesday’s quarter final.