We are approaching the final phase of the Olympic Games and the medals for boxing, are close to being presented in the different weight categories on pristine podiums.
So…it seems apt and essential to continue reviewing history. We already fondly looked back at some of the boxers who were talented enough and lady luck fortunate to be Olympic champions and then become professionals. Today we will enlist 10 more fighters who also left their indelible signature on amateur and professional boxing.
Italian boxer who was part of the 1960 Rome Olympic Games where he managed to win the gold medal in the welterweight division by defeating Yuri Radonyak of the Soviet Union in the final. The following year, Benvenuti decided to debut as professional winning titles in two divisions, super welterweight and middle, in which he successfully made five defenses.
Oscar de la Hoya
In Barcelona 1992 he became the ‘Golden Boy’ de la Hoya at the Olympic Games. He took the gold medal by defeating German Marco Rudolph in the lightweight final. Later that year, Oscar made his professional debut, marching on to achieve glory in multiple divisions.
“Big George” Foreman participated in the Mexico City edition in 1968 winning a gold medal in the heavyweight division after beating Jonas Cepulis of the Soviet Union. The following year, he decided to debut as professional. George fought 81 times and managed to reign in the heavyweight division making six successful defenses in his two magical spells.
The Croatian boxer, yet a Yugoslav during his time as a boxer. Mate participated in the 1972 Munich edition of the Olympic Games. There he beat Cuban Gilberto Carrillo to win the gold medal at light heavyweight. Three years later Parlov debuted as professional, where he won the WBC light heavyweight title. Additionally, he fought twice for the inaugural WBC cruiserweight title.
Leon and Michael Spinks
The brothers made history. Both participated in the 1976 edition of Montreal games, while Leon Spinks beat Sixto Soria for the gold medal in light heavyweight, Michael defeated Rufat Riskiyev in middleweight division.
Michael turned pro the following year and was champion in two different divisions, light heavy and heavy, retaining his titles 13 times in his 32 professional bouts. Leon defeated Muhammad Ali in 1978 and became a heavyweight champion.
In Tokyo 1964, Smokin ’Joe won the gold medal after beating German Hans Huber in the final. The following year, he decided to take the step to professionalism where he managed to become heavyweight champion for 3 years, in addition to making 9 successful defenses of his titles. We can’t forget he starred in Fight of the Century and Thrilla in Manila alongside Muhammad Ali.
Joshua participated in the Olympic Games in his country, London 2012 and managed to get the gold medal in super heavyweight class after defeating the Italian Roberto Cammarelle. Just over a year later, Anthony Joshua turned pro where he has won the heavyweight title on two separate stages.
Seoul 1988 was the date for the Italian make history, he defeated Romanian Daniel Dumitrescu in the featherweight final via knockout. A year later he made the leap to professionalism where he won titles in two different divisions, lightweight and super lightweight, which he successfully defended 8 times altogether.
Floyd Patterson participated in the 1952 Helsinki edition of the Olympic Games where, after beating Romanian Vasile Tita, he won the gold medal as middleweight. That same year he went on to professional boxing where he was a two-time heavyweight champion, successfully defending his crown six times. He had a great rivalry against Swede Ingemar Johansson fighting 3 times.