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Boxing at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Men's Heavyweight

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Germany Hall, Berlin
Date Started: August 10, 1936
Date Finished: August 15, 1936
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: GER Herbert Runge
Silver: ARG Guillermo Lovell
Bronze: NOR Erling Nilsen

Summary

Traditionally the highlight of the boxing competition, this was expected to be a close fought competition with a number of highly regarded fighters in contention. One such fighter was the Belgian Albert Robbe, an American newspaper reported that he had the reputation of being “Three parts fighting tiger to one part Jack Dempsey”. After his abysmal performance in losing to Ferenc Nagy of Hungary they changed this description to have him “stinking like a Gorgonzola cheese”.

Another favoured contender, the American Art Oliver, who had served as a sparring partner to the great Joe Louis, lost to the teenage Swede Olle Tandberg in his first bout. The most unusual performance of the tournament came from one of the Austrian coaches who, after his fighter Karl Lutz had lost to a boxer from Luxembourg, ran around the ring literally tearing his hair out; he pulled large tufts of his hair out as an apparent protest at the verdict.

The German champion Herbert Runge moved into the semi-finals with an easy knockout over a Czechoslovakian and a hard fought points victory over the British entry. His opponent in the semis should have been Nagy but the Hungarian had been injured in his defeat of Tandberg and was forced to withdraw from the tournament. The other semi-final pairing brought together Erling Nielsen of Norway, who had knocked out both his previous opponents and Guillermo Lovell of Argentina, brother of the 1932 heavyweight gold medallist, Alberto Lovell. Lovell’s raw aggression was a little too much for his Norwegian opponent, who had to settle for bronze.

The final started explosively with Lovell and Runge exchanging powerful punches throughout a reasonably even first round. The decisive moment came near the end of the second round when Runge knocked Lovell to the floor, the bell saved the Argentine from a possible stoppage. Runge had the upper hand from then on but although he ended the fight with what appeared to be bite marks on his shoulder, it was Runge who received two warnings from the British referee.

Runge, an apprentice butcher by trade, was eight times national amateur champion between 1935 and 1943 and was three times a medallist at the European Championships, although the Olympic gold was his only major international title. Turning professional at the age of thirty-three he had an unsuccessful attempt at the German title. Erling Nielsen won a bronze medal at the 1937 Europeans but Olle Tandberg went on went to win the gold at that tournament and retain it in 1939, he would have a favourite for the abortive 1940 Games. Tandberg had a professional career which culminated in a world heavyweight title eliminator against Jersey Joe Walcott. 43,000 spectators at the Rasunda Stadium, Stockholm watched Tandberg knocked down four times in a five-round defeat. Art Oliver was tragically killed in 1944 when a vehicle in which he was a passenger collided with a train.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Herbert Runge 23 Germany GER Gold
2 Guillermo Lovell 18 Argentina ARG Silver
3 Erling Nilsen 25 Norway NOR Bronze
4 Ferenc Nagy 19 Hungary HUN
5T José Feans 24 Uruguay URU
5T Ernest Toussaint 28 Luxembourg LUX
5T Olle Tandberg 17 Sweden SWE
5T Anthony Stuart 28 Great Britain GBR
9T Stanisław Piłat 27 Poland POL
9T Omar Hermansen 22 Denmark DEN
9T Karl Lutz 22 Austria AUT
9T Walter Marti 26 Switzerland SUI
9T Art Oliver 25 United States USA
9T Albert Robbe 20 Belgium BEL
9T Rudolf Kus 21 Czechoslovakia TCH
9T Secondo De Marchi 25 Italy ITA
17 Albert van Bemmel 23 Netherlands NED