| Event type

Heavyweight (>81 kilograms), Men

Date15 – 23 October 1964
LocationKorakuen Horu, Bunkyo, Tokyo
Participants14 from 14 countries
FormatSingle elimination tournament.

Traditionally the heavyweight division had been the realm of American dominance and in 1964 it was believed that the nation had a new star in the shape of the 133 kg (295 lb.) man-mountain Buster Mathis. Mathis had impressed as much with his hand speed as his power in the US trials and he seemed a certainty for Olympic gold but Mathis never got to travel to Tokyo, let alone fight for gold. A hand injury forced his withdrawal and he was replaced by Joe Frazier, the man he defeated to clinch a place on the Olympic team. Frazier took his opportunity with gusto and made quick work of his first two opponents. A sterner test appeared to wait in the shape of Soviet sailor Vadim Yemelyanov in the semi-final but the only difference this time was that the humiliation lasted an extra round and that Yemelyanov was a resilient punch bag. Opposing Frazier in the final was the experienced Hans Huber of Germany. Huber had noted Frazier’s performances and attempted to use his speed and footwork to negate the American’s punching ability. The fight reached the final bell and two of the judges agreed that Huber had succeeded in his mission but the three others voted in favour of Frazier and the American took the gold medal home.

Frazier turned professional in the aftermath of the Games and, though overshadowed by the exploits of Muhammad Ali, established himself as one the all-time legends of his sport. He became heavyweight champion of the world in 1967, ironically by beating his old rival Buster Mathis, and four years later became the first man to defeat Ali in the “Fight of the Century“ at Madison Square Garden in New York. He lost his crown and his undefeated record to George Foreman in 1973 and lost a rematch to Ali early the following year. A third fight with Ali, “The Thrilla in Manilla“, is perhaps rated as the greatest, and most brutal, fight of all time.

1Joe FrazierUSAGold
2Hans HuberGERSilver
=3Giuseppe RosITABronze
=3Vadim YemelyanovURSBronze
=5Abdul RehmanPAK
=5Vasile MariuțanROU
=5Athol McQueenAUS
=5Santiago LovellARG
=9Kiril PandovBUL
=9Josef NěmecTCH
=9Tadayuki MaruyamaJPN
=9George OywelloUGA
=9Władysław JędrzejewskiPOL
=9Rudolf MeierSUI

Round One (15 October 1964)

Winner of each match advanced to the second round.

Match #1 Hans HuberGER Bye
Match #2 Abdul RehmanPAK Bye
Match #3 Vasile MariuțanROU Kiril PandovBUL Decision (5 - 0)
Match #4 Giuseppe RosITA Josef NěmecTCH Decision (4 - 1)
Match #5 Athol McQueenAUS Tadayuki MaruyamaJPN Decision (5 - 0)
Match #6 Joe FrazierUSA George OywelloUGA Referee Stops Contest (Round 1, 1:35)
Match #7 Vadim YemelyanovURS Władysław JędrzejewskiPOL Referee Stops Contest (Round 1, 1:35)
Match #8 Santiago LovellARG Rudolf MeierSUI Disqualified (Round 2, 2:00)

Quarter-Finals (19 October 1964)

Winner of each match advanced to the semi-finals.

Match #1 Hans HuberGER Abdul RehmanPAK Knock Out (Round 1, 2:48)
Match #2 Giuseppe RosITA Vasile MariuțanROU Disqualified (Round 3, 1:27)
Match #3 Joe FrazierUSA Athol McQueenAUS Referee Stops Contest (Round 1, 0:40)
Match #4 Vadim YemelyanovURS Santiago LovellARG Knock Out (Round 2, 1:59)

Semi-Finals (21 October 1964)

Winner of each match advanced to the final match.

Match #1 Hans HuberGER Giuseppe RosITA Decision (4 - 1)
Match #2 Joe FrazierUSA Vadim YemelyanovURS Referee Stops Contest (Round 2, 1:59)

Final Round (23 October 1964)

Match 1/2 Joe FrazierUSA Hans HuberGER Decision (3 - 2)