| Event type

Bantamweight (≤54 kilograms), Men

Date23 November – 1 December 1956
LocationWest Melbourne Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants18 from 18 countries
FormatSingle elimination tournament.

Eastern Europe, particularly European Championships finalists Zenon Stefaniuk of Poland and the Soviet Union’s Boris Stepanov, were favoured in this event but the two men were eliminated in their first bouts. Stepanov was winning his fight against Ireland’s Freddie Gilroy, despite having been warned by the referee for fouling his opponent, when he turned his head to stare at the referee and was knocked out.

From the quarter-finals the draw neatly split into a section of European boxers and a section from the rest of the world. Gilroy’s progress was checked at the semi-final stage by Wolfgang Behrendt of Germany who had only recently moved up in weight from flyweight whilst Song Sun-Cheon became the first Korean Olympic boxing finalist when he dispatched Claudio Barrientos of Chile in the other semi-final. By defeating Song, Behrendt became the first boxer from the GDR to win an Olympic title although it should be pointed out that East and West competed in a combined German team in 1956.

Éder Jofre of Brazil lost in the quarter finals in Melbourne but went on to a glittering career as a professional and is acknowledged as one of the greatest fighters of all time. He reigned as world bantamweight champion for five years then returned after a four year retirement to win the featherweight world crown. Jofre retired with a record of 72 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws in his 78 fight career.

1Wolfgang BehrendtGERGold
2Song Sun-CheonKORSilver
=3Freddie GilroyIRLBronze
=3Claudio BarrientosCHIBronze
=5Mario SitriITA
=5Owen ReillyGBR
=5Éder JofreBRA
=5Carmelo TomaselliARG
=9Boris StepanovURS
=9Ahmed RashidPAK
=9Danny HellebuyckBEL
=9Henrik OttesenDEN
=9Zenon StefaniukPOL
=9Thein MyintMYA
=9Vichai LimcharoenTHA
=9Bobby BathAUS
=17Alberto AdelaPHI
=17Henry JayasuriyaSRI

Round One (23 November 1956)

Winner of each match advanced to the second round.

Match #1 Boris StepanovURS Bye
Match #2 Freddie GilroyIRL Bye
Match #3 Ahmed RashidPAK Bye
Match #4 Mario SitriITA Bye
Match #5 Owen ReillyGBR Bye
Match #6 Danny HellebuyckBEL Bye
Match #7 Henrik OttesenDEN Bye
Match #8 Wolfgang BehrendtGER Bye
Match #9 Zenon StefaniukPOL Bye
Match #10 Claudio BarrientosCHI Bye
Match #11 Thein MyintMYA Bye
Match #12 Éder JofreBRA Bye
Match #13 Carmelo TomaselliARG Bye
Match #14 Vichai LimcharoenTHA Bye
Match #15 Song Sun-CheonKOR Alberto AdelaPHI Decision (– - –)
Match #16 Bobby BathAUS Henry JayasuriyaSRI Decision (– - –)

Round Two (26 November 1956)

Winner of each match advanced to the quarter-finals.

Match #1 Freddie GilroyIRL Boris StepanovURS Knock Out (Round 3)
Match #2 Mario SitriITA Ahmed RashidPAK Decision (– - –)
Match #3 Owen ReillyGBR Danny HellebuyckBEL Decision (– - –)
Match #4 Wolfgang BehrendtGER Henrik OttesenDEN Retired (Round 2)
Match #5 Claudio BarrientosCHI Zenon StefaniukPOL Decision (– - –)
Match #6 Éder JofreBRA Thein MyintMYA Decision (– - –)
Match #7 Carmelo TomaselliARG Vichai LimcharoenTHA Decision (– - –)
Match #8 Song Sun-CheonKOR Bobby BathAUS Decision (– - –)

Quarter-Finals (28 November 1956)

Winner of each match advanced to the semi-finals.

Match #1 Freddie GilroyIRL Mario SitriITA Decision (– - –)
Match #2 Wolfgang BehrendtGER Owen ReillyGBR Decision (– - –)
Match #3 Claudio BarrientosCHI Éder JofreBRA Decision (– - –)
Match #4 Song Sun-CheonKOR Carmelo TomaselliARG Decision (– - –)

Semi-Finals (30 November 1956)

Winner of each match advanced to the final match.

Match #1 Wolfgang BehrendtGER Freddie GilroyIRL Decision (– - –)
Match #2 Song Sun-CheonKOR Claudio BarrientosCHI Decision (– - –)

Final Round (1 December 1956)

Match 1/2 Wolfgang BehrendtGER Song Sun-CheonKOR Decision (– - –)