Host City: Paris, France
Venue(s): Winter Velodrome, Paris
Date Started: July 15, 1924
Date Finished: July 20, 1924
Format: Single elimination tournament.
The judging of boxing, as in all sports where a degree of subjectivity is required, has a history of protest but the events in the middleweight class at the 1924 belong to the level of controversy almost of its’ own.
French hopes were dashed in the quarter-finals. Daniel Daney appeared to have outboxed his Belgian opponent but Joseph Beecken was awarded the victory. A last round in which the Frenchman briefly touched the canvas might have influenced the judges.
The favourite for the competition was though to be the reigning champion, Harry Mallin from Britain, and Mallin did indeed win his first two bouts without any great alarm. In the last eight he came up against another French fighter in Roger Brousse. Mallin appeared to most onlookers to have won the contest but Brousse was declared the victor by a 2-1 decision. By this time Mallin had already approached the referee and asked for him to examine teeth marks on his chest and whilst the referee had ignored him, the damage had been seen by a ringside official.
A Swedish member of the Fédération Internationale de Boxe Amateur (FIBA) filed a protest and an inquiry was held. Mallin’s chest was examined and it was proved that he had clearly been bitten. Brousse’s defence was that he had an unusual habit of snapping his jaw at the moment of throwing a punch and that Mallin, in defending himself against Brousse’s punches, had bumped his chest against his opponent’s mouth. The witnesses against Brousse included the Argentine he had defeated in his previous bout, who also accused the Frenchman of biting. Whilst the jury of appeal cleared Brousse of an intentional foul, they still disqualified him and advanced Mallin to the semi finals.
The announcement of Brousse’s late disqualification was made at the boxing venue the day after the bout took place and led to scenes of uproar in the hall. A distraught Brousse was carried on the shoulders of his supporters around the arena, demonstrators attempted to enter the ring and even after the gendarmes had restored some sort of order, the officials were the subject of abuse for the rest of the night.
Mallin came through his semi-final and in the final met his fellow Londoner, John Elliott. With the events of the welterweight final having left the arena already in turmoil, the sight of Mallin merely entering the ring set off a chorus of booing amongst the French supporters. Mallin did not fight to his usual standard but was good enough to outpoint Elliott and become the first boxer to successfully defend an Olympic title. The Olympic final was to be the final bout for the 32 year old champion; he retired having never lost a senior contest. He later served as manager of the British boxing team at both the Berlin and Helsinki games.
|1||Harry Mallin||31||Great Britain||GBR||Gold|
|2||Jack Elliott||22||Great Britain||GBR||Silver|
|9T||Adolphe Lefkowitch||21||United States||USA|
|9T||Ben Funk||21||United States||USA|
|9T||Georges Van Haelen||24||Belgium||BEL|