During his boxing career, which lasted from 1959-69, Pertti Purhonen won nine Finnish titles in a row in three different weight categories. From 1960-61, Purhonen was Finnish champion in lightweight, in 1962 he was champion in light-welterweight and from 1963-68 in welterweight. Purhonen also won the Nordic Championships in 1961, 1963 and 1967. Purhonen competed at the 1964 Olympics, where he won a bronze in welterweight, and at three European Championships, in 1961, 1963 and 1967, losing in his first bout in all of those competitions. In 1969 Purhonen turned professional, but fought only two bouts and won both of them, the second by knockout. After retiring from boxing, Purhonen founded a non-profit organization Kriisipalveluyhdistys (Crisis Service) that advises workers how to behave in workplace crisis situations. Purhonen was selected to the Finnish Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008.