Most iconic Olympic boxing bouts from robberies to Joshua gold medal in London


Olympic boxing has brought in some of the most famous names of all time to grace the sport.

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Anthony Joshua with his 2012 Olympic gold medalCredits: Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd.

Over the years, dazzling performances, shocking decisions and even history-making bouts have illuminated the Olympics.

Here, SunSport showcases some of the most iconic moments and bouts in Olympic boxing history.

Cassius Clay, Rome 1960

The man, then known as Muhammad Ali, decided not to make the Games in Italy for fear of flying, and even strapped on a parachute to the plane.

But The Greatest must have been thankful that he made the journey to win the gold, defeating Pol Zbigniew Pietrzykowski in the final.

Little did anyone know that it would be one of the most prestigious careers of all time, not just in boxing, but in all sports.

Cassius Clay, center wins gold in Rome 1960

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Cassius Clay, center wins gold in Rome 1960credit: Hulton Archive – Getty

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Sugar Ray Leonard, Montreal 1976

Leonard goes down as one of the most technically gifted fighters of all time, blessed with speed, timing and magical footwork.

And it was all demonstrated in Canada, where he demonstrated his famous ‘shoeshine’ technique of throwing lots of sharp combinations to catch the eye of the judges.

Leonard defeated Cuban Andrés Aldama for the gold and later became a five-weight world champion as part of the ‘Four Kings’ era with classic fights against Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns and the late Marvin Hagler.

Roy Jones Jr., Seoul 1988

In one of boxing’s darkest and most infamous hours, Jones was robbed of Olympic gold against Park Si-hun of South Korea.

Years later it emerged that the offending judges were won over and dined by Korean organisers, but the International Olympic Committee stated that “there is no evidence of corruption in the boxing events in Seoul”.

Jones would go on to become a four-weight champion in the pros—even winning a heavyweight belt—and is celebrated as one of the finest fighters to ever lace.

Roy Jones Jr. was infamously robbed at the 1988 Games

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Roy Jones Jr. was infamously robbed at the 1988 Gamescredit: getty

Lennox Lewis, Seoul 1988

Lewis, who was born in London but moved to Ontario at age 12, represented Canada in Korea.

He sparked a heated rivalry with heavyweights by defeating American Riddick Bowe to win the gold.

It went to the pros but he never rematched, with Bowe also tying his WBC belt to avoid fighting Lewis.

Lennox Lewis beats Riddick Bowe for Olympic gold

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Lennox Lewis beats Riddick Bowe for Olympic goldcredit: Rex

Floyd Mayweather, Atlanta 1996 Atlanta

In another ugly night for boxing, Mayweather lost in the semifinals to Bulgarian Serafev Todorov – but was clearly robbed.

Not only that, the referee also raised his wrong hand in confusion after Todorov was declared the winner.

Despite being heartbroken only to win bronze, Mayweather tasted defeat one last time.

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Floyd Mayweather won the bronze medal at the 1996 Games

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Floyd Mayweather won the bronze medal at the 1996 Gamescredit: AP: Associated Press

Wladimir Klitschko, Atlanta 1996

Young Klitschko won the gold medal in the US against Tongan Paya Wolfgram.

It was not such an easy change in the paid ranks for the Ukrainian, however, who had suffered three losses in his early career.

But under the guidance of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, Klitschko reigned as champion for nine years before losing to Tyson Fury in 2015.

Wladimir Klitschko won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics

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Wladimir Klitschko won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympicscredit: getty

Deontay Wilder, Beijing 2008

American Wilder was defeated by Italy’s Clemente Russo in the semi-finals in China to win the bronze medal.

But it was the third place award that inspired his current nickname, the ‘Bronze Bomber’.

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Paying homage to Joe Louis, the ‘brown bomber’ of Wilder’s home state of Alabama, the nickname has become synonymous with modern-day heavyweight boxing.

Deontay Wilder won the bronze medal at the 2008 Games

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Deontay Wilder won the bronze medal at the 2008 Gamescredit: Getty Images – Getty

Anthony Joshua, London 2012

Only four years after he started boxing, Joshua defeated Italian legend Roberto Camarelli in front of fans in the capital.

It was the night Britain’s newest superstar was born and within a year of AJ’s pro debut, he was a household name.

Fast forward to the present and he is one of the biggest poster boys in boxing, a two-time unified champion and a mega commercial attraction.

Anthony Joshua won the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics

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Anthony Joshua won the gold medal at the 2012 Olympicscredit: getty

Nicola Adams, London 2012

The 2012 Games was a milestone for boxing as it was the first to include a women’s competition.

And it was Britain’s Adams who stunned world No. 1 Ren Cancun of China to clinch the gold medal.

Adams won another gold medal in Rio, before winning a pro world title and going unbeaten in six appearances in 2019.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams

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Two-time Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adamscredit: Olympic Pool

Michael Conlan, Rio 2016

Perhaps the most important moment of them all, Irishman Conlan sticks his middle fingers to the cameras after controversially losing to Russian Vladimir Nikitin.

He then angrily accused AIBA, the then governing body of the sport, of “cheating” which changed the Olympics forever.

The IOC subsequently investigated AIBA and was later stripped of its rights to host the Tokyo 2020 Olympic boxing tournament after a disastrous investigation.

Michael Conlan after defeat to Russian Vladimir Nikitin

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Michael Conlan after defeat to Russian Vladimir Nikitincredits: Sportsfile – Membership

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