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Light-Middleweight (≤71 kilograms), Men

Date24 November – 1 December 1956
StatusOlympic
LocationWest Melbourne Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants14 from 14 countries
FormatSingle elimination tournament.

In hindsight the light-middleweight class at the 1956 Olympics boasts one of the stellar line-ups of talent ever seen at the Games. The undoubted favourite was Hungary’s László Papp who was attempting to become the first three-time Olympic boxing champion, having already won at middleweight in 1948 and light-middleweight in 1952. Standing between Papp and his goal were the European champion Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland and the brilliant young Puerto Rican-American soldier José Torres. Papp used his experience to befuddle his much younger opponents and outpointed Pietrzykowski in the semi-finals then comfortably defeating Torres in the final to claim his piece of history.

Uniquely for a fighter from a communist country Papp was allowed to turn professional on his return home from Australia. After an eight year pro career in which he remained unbeaten, he was on the verge of a shot at the world title when the Hungarian authorities decided that boxing for pay was “incompatible with socialist principles” and forced his retirement. José Torres went on to win the world professional light-heavyweight title in 1965 and in retirement became one of the professional sport’s leading officials. The two bronze medalists also made their mark on the sport. Pietrzykowski won medals at the next two Olympics whilst John McCormack became European middleweight champion as a pro.

PosBoxerNOC
1László PappHUNGold
2José TorresUSASilver
=3Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOLBronze
=3John McCormackGBRBronze
=5Alberto SáenzARG
=5Boris NikolovBUL
=5Ulrich KienastGER
=5Franco SciscianiITA
=9Muhammad SafdarPAK
=9Richard KarpovURS
=9Jimmy MontgomeryCAN
=9Alexander WebsterRSA
=9Peter ReadAUS
=9Eugène LegrandFRA

Round One (24 November 1956)

Winner of each match advanced to the quarter-finals.

Match #1 László PappHUN Bye
Match #2 Alberto SáenzARG Bye
Match #3 Boris NikolovBUL Muhammad SafdarPAK Decision (– - –)
Match #4 Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Richard KarpovURS Decision (– - –)
Match #5 Ulrich KienastGER Jimmy MontgomeryCAN Decision (– - –)
Match #6 John McCormackGBR Alexander WebsterRSA Decision (– - –)
Match #7 José TorresUSA Peter ReadAUS Decision (– - –)
Match #8 Franco SciscianiITA Eugène LegrandFRA Decision (– - –)

Quarter-Finals (28 November 1956)

Winner of each match advanced to the semi-finals.

Match #1 László PappHUN Alberto SáenzARG Referee Stops Contest (Round 3)
Match #2 Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Boris NikolovBUL Decision (– - –)
Match #3 John McCormackGBR Ulrich KienastGER Referee Stops Contest (Round 3)
Match #4 José TorresUSA Franco SciscianiITA Decision (– - –)

Semi-Finals (30 November 1956)

Winner of each match advanced to the final match.

Match #1 László PappHUN Zbigniew PietrzykowskiPOL Decision (– - –)
Match #2 José TorresUSA John McCormackGBR Decision (– - –)

Final Round (1 December 1956)

Match 1/2 László PappHUN José TorresUSA Decision (– - –)