Mate Parlov

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMate•Parlov
Used nameMate•Parlov
Other namesМате Парлов
Born16 November 1948 in Split, Splitsko-dalmatinska županija (CRO)
Died29 July 2008 in Pula, Istarska županija (CRO)
Measurements184 cm / 81 kg
AffiliationsBK Pula, Pula (CRO)
NOC Yugoslavia
Nationality Croatia
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Mate Parlov won the first of his Yugoslav amateur titles at the age of eighteen and would go on to win eight national titles between 1967 and 1974. He made his Olympic debut in Mexico City where he lost in the quarter-finals to the eventual gold medallist, Chris Finnegan. After losing in the final of the 1969 European Championships, he won the title in both 1971 and 1973 and was also five times champion of the Balkans.

Despite not being known as a heavy puncher he stopped three of his four opponents at the 1972 Olympics including a technical knockout of Cuba’s Gilberto Carrillo to win the Gold medal. In 1974 he won the won the light-heavyweight class at the inaugural World Amateur Championships in Havana.

Parlov took the opportunity to turn professional and won twelve of his first thirteen fights before successfully challenging for the European light-heavyweight title. After defending the European title twice he met Miquel Angel Cuello for the WBC World light-heavyweight title in January 1978. The two men had been scheduled to meet in the quarter-finals at the Munich Olympics but Cuetto had been forced to withdraw injured. Parlov knocked out the Argentine in the ninth round in Milan to become the first professional world champion from a communist country. Parlov lost the title on his second defence and would later challenge for the World cruiserweight title without success.

After retiring from the ring he ran a coffee bar but would return to boxing as a coach to the 1984 Yugoslav Olympic boxing team. A very popular figure in his native Croatia, he was voted the outstanding Croatian sportsman of the 20th century.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1968 Summer Olympics Boxing YUG CRO Mate Parlov
Middleweight, Men (Olympic) =5
1972 Summer Olympics Boxing YUG CRO Mate Parlov
Light-Heavyweight, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes