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Boxing at the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Games:

Men's Bantamweight

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: August 9, 1932
Date Finished: August 13, 1932
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: CAN Lefty Gwynne
Silver: GER Hans Ziglarski
Bronze: PHI José Luis Villanueva

Summary

All three of the 1930 European Championship medallists were present in Los Angeles, Ziglarski of Germany, the Italian Melis and France’s Paul Nicolas. Along with home fighter Joseph Lang they were considered strong medal candidates.

Canadian Horace “Lefty” Gwynne was another who impressed in the year before the Games and was the possessor of a vicious left hook that gave him his nickname. In the last eight Gwynne defeated Melis with surprising ease, dumping him on the canvas in the second round thanks to a right hook and generally punching him around the ring. If anything, his victory over José Luis Villanueva of the Philippines in the semi-finals was even more decisive, although Villanueva at least had the satisfaction of staying on his feet throughout. Ziglarski of Germany came through the other half of the draw, the American Joseph Lang losing out in the semi-final.

The much anticipated final turned out to be a mismatch, Gwynne won the first round and in the second produced a left-right combination that floored the German for a two-count. By the end of the third round, there was no doubt who was the victor and the Canadian, who had emerged as a favourite with fans, was credited with an overwhelming points victory. The legendary writer Damon Runyan, who was present at ringside, remarked “Of all the Olympic champions, I like this kid Gwynne the best”.

Gwynne’s English born father had returned to his native country to fight in World War I and it was there that Horace began boxing, fighting exhibitions with his brother to entertain British army troops when they were just four and six respectively. Turning professional after the Games, he had 40 pro fights and became Canadian bantamweight champion before the lack of big money fights for fighters in the lighter weights forced him into retirement. He later became a jockey’s agent where he earned himself another nickname, “10% Gwynne”; from the share he demanded from his clients earnings.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Lefty Gwynne 19 Canada CAN Gold
2 Hans Ziglarski 26 Germany GER Silver
3 José Luis Villanueva 19 Philippines PHI Bronze
4 Joseph Lang 21 United States USA
5T Vito Melis 23 Italy ITA
5T Akira Nakao 22 Japan JPN
5T Paul Nicolas France FRA
5T Carlos Pereyra 21 Argentina ARG
9T Sabino Tirado Mexico MEX
9T Paddy Hughes 23 Ireland IRL