Teofilo Stevenson, top amateur boxer, dies
The super-heavyweight legend won 302 of 321 fights but never went professional as a testament of his loyalty to Cuba.
Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson (centre, gold medal), Pyotr Zaev of the Soviet Union (left, silver) and East Germany's Jurgen Fanghanel (right, bronze) on the podium of the Olympic heavyweight boxing event in 1980. (Photo: AFP Global Edition)
Cuban Teofilo Stevenson, hailed as one of the best boxers of his time though he never turned professional, died on June 11 at the age of 60 of a heart attack.
Stevenson dominated world amateur boxing for 14 years and became the first fighter to win the Olympic gold medal in the same division three times.
Competing in what is now known as the super-heavyweight division, Jamaican-born Stevenson won his first gold at the 1972 Munich Games, and went on to win two more golds at the 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow Games.
He was, however, denied a chance of a fourth medal after Cuba joined the Soviet boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Stevenson finished his career in 1986 with a record of 302 victories in 321 bouts, and went on to join the Cuban boxing federation as a trainer and official, notably overseeing Felix Savon, who mirrored his mentor in also winning three Olympic golds (1992, 1996, 2000).
He refused to give up his amateur status in the 1970s as the boxing world clamoured for a what would have been a highly lucrative bout against then-world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali after the 1976 Montreal Games.
Staying loyal to the Cuban revolution, Stevenson reportedly said: "What is one million dollars compared with the love of eight million Cubans?"
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition