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5 Most Successful Boxers In Olympic History

Oleg Saitov beats Juan hernandez during 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
Oleg Saitov beats Juan hernandez during 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
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Modified 12 Feb 2021
Top 5 / Top 10
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Boxing has had a long association with the Summer Olympics and can chart its participation back to the Ancient Games around 688 B.C. The popularity and demand of this sport by different nations has continued to grow exponentially, ever since.

Some of the greatest boxing stars of recent decades have launched their careers at the Summer Olympics. Cubans have, in fact, reared some of the biggest names across the world in this sporting domain. Be it a Félix Savón or a Teófilo Stevenson, Cubans have been a consistent force to be reckoned with at the Olympic Games, winning a total of 37 gold medals in the sport so far.

Also Read: Most medals won by US athletes in a single edition of the Summer Olympics

Five most successful boxers in Olympics History:

As the 2021 Olympics get underway in five months, the boxers are expected to rise up the ladder even faster and trigger Olympic boxing to a new high in Tokyo with a sensational gold medal haul. Let's take a look at the five most successful boxers of all time at the Summer Olympics.

#5 Oleg Saitov - 3 Medals (2 Gold, 1 Bronze)

1996 Summer Olympics: Gold

2000 Summer Olympics: Gold

2004 Summer Olympics: Bronze

Arguably the best Russian boxer to ever take the ring, Oleg Saitov has dominated the sport in a way only a few have. His first Olympic breakthrough came in 1996, where he won the gold in the welterweight division. Four years later, Saitov showed tremendous courage to wade past the challenge to bag an Olympic gold for the second time.

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The Russian ace returned for the Athens Games in 2004 and went on to win a bronze medal in his category. Saitov’s stellar performances in the 2000 Olympic Games earned him the 'Val Barker Trophy' for 'Outstanding Boxer'.


#4 Zou Shiming - 3 Medals (2 Gold, 1 Bronze)

Zou Shiming during 2012 London Olympic Games
Zou Shiming during 2012 London Olympic Games

2004 Summer Olympics: Bronze

2008 Summer Olympics: Gold

2012 Summer Olympics: Gold

Regarded as the trailblazer for the sport in China, Zou Shiming’s rise to prominence is nothing less than inspiring. He won the nation’s first-ever world title in 2005 and followed it up with his country’s first Olympic gold medal in boxing in 2008. Having won his first Olympic medal in Athens in 2004, Shiming established himself as by far the most successful Chinese boxer ever.

Also Read: 10 best Olympic boxers of all time


#3 László Papp - 3 Gold Medals

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Laszlo Papp in action Teofilo Stevenson Cuban Boxing Great Felix Savon
Laszlo Papp in action Teofilo Stevenson Cuban Boxing Great Felix Savon

1948 Summer Olympics: Gold

1952 Summer Olympics: Gold

1956 Summer Olympics: Gold

László Papp will forever be known as the first man in history to win three Olympic boxing gold medals. His first gold in 1948 served as a springboard for an impressive professional career that saw Papp being considered as one of the most successful boxers of all time.

The Hungarian southpaw won 13 consecutive fights in a row, and he won them without conceding a single round until his very last fast.


#2 Teófilo Stevenson - 3 Gold Medals

Teofilo Stevenson

1972 Summer Olympics: Gold

1976 Summer Olympics: Gold

1980 Summer Olympics: Gold

The Cuban powerhouse went on to win three world championship titles and three consecutive Olympic gold medals at the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Games. In fact, Stevenson was the first-ever pugilist to win the gold medal in the same division three times.

His professional boxing career too was nothing short of extraordinary, as the BBC rightly described him as, "Cuba's greatest boxer, once its most famous figure after Fidel Castro".


#1 Félix Savón

Cuban Boxing Great Felix Savon at Home

1992 Summer Olympics: Gold

1996 Summer Olympics: Gold

2000 Summer Olympics: Gold

Savón pocketed three consecutive gold medals in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic games in the heavyweight division. With as many as 37 gold medals at the Olympics ever since its inception in 1904, the Cuban boxers have ruled the roost on the international stage. And helping them maintain their dominance has been a six-time world championship title holder Félix Savón.

Savon, who is among only three boxers who have managed a triple Olympic crown, announced his retirement in 2000 soon after winning his third consecutive Olympic gold medal.


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Most Successful Boxers In Olympic History
Most Successful Boxers In Olympic History

Notable Mentions:

# Boris Lagutin - 3 Medals (2 Gold, 1 Bronze)

1960 Summer Olympics: Bronze

1964 Summer Olympics: Gold

1968 Summer Olympics: Gold

In a career that saw the Russian win 241 fights and lose only 11, Lagutin soon carved a name for himself as one of the most feared boxers in the middleweight division.

His major career breakthroughs include winning a bronze medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics as a light middleweight and following it up with successive gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.


# Muhammad Ali - 1 Gold Medal

Muhammad Ali in early 1960s
Muhammad Ali in early 1960s

1960 Summer Olympics: Gold

Considered to be the cradle of boxing, Muhammad Ali came to be known as the greatest boxer of all time, and perhaps even the greatest sportsman. All of 18, Cassius Clay, who went on to be known as Muhammad Ali later, won all four of his four fights in the heavyweight division with much ease at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

In the final bout, he romped through the competition and defeated three-time European champion Zbigniew Pietrzykowski to win the gold medal.

Published 12 Feb 2021, 08:49 IST
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