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| Event type

Light-Heavyweight (≤81 kilograms), Men

Date26 August – 5 September 1960
StatusOlympic
LocationPalazzo dello Sport, Roma
Participants19 from 19 countries
FormatSingle elimination tournament.

Yvon Becaus, Gennady Shatkov, Tony Madigan, and Zbigniew Pietrzykowski. All boxers in this class, their names remain as answers to the trivia question of who lost to the eventual winner, one Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.. The original favorite in the event was either the Pole Pietrzykowski, who had won Olympic bronze in 1956 as a light-middleweight, and was already a three-time European champion (1955, 1957, 1959), or Shatkov, the 1956 Olympic gold medalist as a middleweight. But the American coaches touted Clay, a reed-thin 18-year-old with lightning-fast hands from Louisville, Kentucky, who stood 187 cm (6-3) tall, and would later grow into a large heavyweight. Clay had won the Chicago Golden Gloves title in 1959 and 1960, adding the 1960 AAU titles and Olympic Trials. In Rome, he won his first bout over Becaus by TKO, then won unanimous decisions over Shatkov and Madigan to advance to the final against Pietrzykowski. Pietrzykowski was a formidable opponent and had a slight lead after two rounds, but Clay, told by his seconds that he needed to knockout the Pole to win, pummeled him in the final round. Pietrzykowski stayed upright, but Clay had another unanimous decision and the gold medal.

Pietrzykowski would come back in 1964 to add a bronze medal in this class, and he won his fourth European title in 1963. Right after the Olympics, Clay turned professional, winning his first fight against Tunney Hunsaker. In 1964 he would win the world heavyweight title by defeating the Big Bear, Sonny Liston. Clay became one of the world’s most popular athletes. Handsome, he never failed to mention that fact, calling himself pretty, and he began reciting poetry, often before his bouts, and often predicting in which rounds he would knock out his opponent. “Float like a buttefly, sting like a bee, his hands can’t hit, what his eyes can’t see”, became his mantra.

After winning the world professional title, Clay adopted the Muslim faith and took the name Muhammad Ali, by which he would become forever after known. Ali claimed conscientious objection to the war in Vietnam and was stripped of his professional title by US authorities, stating “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.” He fought the decision, eventually winning in the US Supreme Court, and then came back to boxing. In the early 1970s Ali had three epic bouts with the 1964 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist, Joe Frazier, winning the last two, including the final drama, The Thrilla in Manila, considered by many as the greatest heavyweight bout ever. Ali would eventually win the world heavyweight title three times, also defeating the 1968 gold medalist, George Foreman, and the 1976 light-heavyweight gold medalist, Leon Spinks, to do so. Sadly, like many boxers, he fought too long, and later suffered from Parkinson’s disease, probably from the effects of so many punches causing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which rendered the Louisville Lip silent. In 1996 he thrilled American sports fans when “The Greatest” overcame his shaking to light the Olympic torch at the Atlanta Opening Ceremony.

PosBoxerNOC
1Cassius ClayUSAGold
2Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOLSilver
=3Tony MadiganAUSBronze
=3Giulio SaraudiITABronze
=5Gennady ShatkovURS
=5Gheorghe NegreaROU
=5Rafael GargiuloARG
=5Petar SpasovBUL
=9Ray CillienLUX
=9Yvon BecausBEL
=9Lars-Olof NorlingSWE
=9George OywelloUGA
=9Muhammad SafdarPAK
=9José LeiteBRA
=9Emil WillerGER
=9Matti AhoFIN
=17Carl CrawfordGUY
=17Johnny OuldGBR
=17Colm McCoyIRL

Round One (26 August 1960)

Winner of each match advanced to the second round.

Match #1 Gennady ShatkovURS Bye
Match #2 Ray CillienLUX Bye
Match #3 Cassius ClayUSA Bye
Match #4 Yvon BecausBEL Bye
Match #5 Lars-Olof NorlingSWE Bye
Match #6 Tony MadiganAUS Bye
Match #7 George OywelloUGA Bye
Match #8 Gheorghe NegreaROU Bye
Match #9 Muhammad SafdarPAK Bye
Match #10 Giulio SaraudiITA Bye
Match #11 Rafael GargiuloARG Bye
Match #12 José LeiteBRA Bye
Match #13 Emil WillerGER Bye
Match #14 Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Carl CrawfordGUY Decision (5 - 0)
Match #15 Petar SpasovBUL Johnny OuldGBR Decision (4 - 1)
Match #16 Matti AhoFIN Colm McCoyIRL Decision (4 - 1)

Round Two (30 August 1960)

Winner of each match advanced to the quarter-finals.

Match #1 Gennady ShatkovURS Ray CillienLUX Decision (5 - 0)
Match #2 Cassius ClayUSA Yvon BecausBEL Referee Stops Contest (Round 2, 2:55)
Match #3 Tony MadiganAUS Lars-Olof NorlingSWE Decision (5 - 0)
Match #4 Gheorghe NegreaROU George OywelloUGA Decision (5 - 0)
Match #5 Giulio SaraudiITA Muhammad SafdarPAK Decision (5 - 0)
Match #6 Rafael GargiuloARG José LeiteBRA Referee Stops Contest (Round 1)
Match #7 Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Emil WillerGER Decision (5 - 0)
Match #8 Petar SpasovBUL Matti AhoFIN Decision (5 - 0)

Quarter-Finals (1 September 1960)

Winner of each match advanced to the semi-finals.

Match #1 Cassius ClayUSA Gennady ShatkovURS Decision (5 - 0)
Match #2 Tony MadiganAUS Gheorghe NegreaROU Knock Out (Round 2)
Match #3 Giulio SaraudiITA Rafael GargiuloARG Decision (3 - 2)
Match #4 Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Petar SpasovBUL Decision (5 - 0)

Semi-Finals (3 September 1960 — 15:00)

Winner of each match advanced to the final match.

Match #1 Cassius ClayUSA Tony MadiganAUS Decision (5 - 0)
Match #2 Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Giulio SaraudiITA Decision (4 - 1)

Final Round (5 September 1960 — 21:00)

Match 1/2 Cassius ClayUSA Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Decision (5 - 0)