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Boxing at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Men's Middleweight

Boxing at the 1948 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Empress Hall, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Kensington, London; Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
Date Started: August 7, 1948
Date Finished: August 13, 1948
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: HUN László Papp
Silver: GBR Johnny Wright
Bronze: ITA Ivano Fontana

Summary

The middleweight division was not short of quality and as such it was hard to predict which of the many talented boxers would earn the laurels. Europe was well represented by the reigning European champion, Aimé Escudie of France and Ireland’s Micheal McKeon. Home favourite, Johnny Wright, a 19-year-old sailor with just a few months experience at this weight, beat the European silver medallist, Wally Thom, just to qualify for the British team and Hungary’s László Papp had remained undefeated since a defeat to Július Torma, who would win the welterweight title in London, in 1947. Adding in the highly touted American, Washington Jones, and the tough Uruguayan, Dogomar Martínez and the expectation of a memorable tournament was hard to suppress.

The first of the favourites to fall was Jones, victim of what was seen to be a harsh disqualification for “hitting with an open glove” against his Belgian opponent, Auguste Cavignac , in a second round bout. Cavignac failed to last a round against Papp in the quarter-finals but the other three bouts all went the full distance. The victory of Micheal McKeon over Escudie was one of the most fiercely contested fights of the entire Games both inside and outside of the ring. The French officials resigned in protest after the bout after McKeon was awarded the win. The Irishman followed this with another brutal contest against Johnny Wright in the last four. Wright won the decision but both men were left bloodied and bruised. Papp came through his half of the draw with three overwhelming victories and was the fresher man for the final. Although he was not yet the fighter he would come to be in the next decade, the Hungarian was superior to the Englishman and would take his first Olympic title.

Bela Keri, trainer to both Papp and fellow Hungarian gold medallist, Tibor Csik, promised that if both men took Olympic titles he would jump fully clothed into the nearby swimming pool. The next morning the Hungarian newspapers showed a very wet coach on their front page. Bronze medallist Ivano Fontana of Italy and the Dane, Martin Hansen, went to achieve a modicum of success in the pro ranks.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 László Papp 22 Hungary HUN Gold
2 Johnny Wright 19 Great Britain GBR Silver
3 Ivano Fontana 21 Italy ITA Bronze
4 Mick McKeon Ireland IRL
5T Dogomar Martínez 18 Uruguay URU
5T Auguste Cavignac 20 Belgium BEL
5T Aimé-Joseph Escudie 23 France FRA
5T Jan Schubart 24 Netherlands NED
9T Antoni Kolczyński 30 Poland POL
9T John Nuttall India IND
9T Washington Jones 23 United States USA
9T Jeannot Welter 20 Luxembourg LUX
9T Hussain Tousi Iran IRI
9T Martin Hansen 23 Denmark DEN
9T Moustafa Fahim 23 Egypt EGY
9T Héctor García 21 Argentina ARG
17T Valfrid Resch 38 Finland FIN
17T Tore Karlsson 23 Sweden SWE
17T Jack Keenan Canada CAN
17T Evert Johanson 29 Norway NOR
17T Ken La Grange 25 South Africa RSA
17T Jaime Oliver 20 Spain ESP
17T Miloslav Příhoda Czechoslovakia TCH
17T Hermann Schneider Switzerland SUI
17T Graham Higham 20 Australia AUS