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Boxing at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's Bantamweight

Boxing at the 1952 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Exhibition Hall I, Helsinki
Date Started: July 28, 1952
Date Finished: August 2, 1952
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: FIN Pentti Hämäläinen
Silver: IRL John McNally
Bronze: KOR Gang Jun-Ho
URS Gennady Garbuzov

Summary

Home boxer Pentti Hämäläinen was not unknown at the time of the 1952 Olympics since he was a bronze medallist at the previous year's European Championships, but there were other boxers who were more favoured to make an impression in Helsinki than the Finnish mechanic.

The Finn, inspired by the support of the home crowd, boxed beautifully to reach the final where he faced Ireland's first ever Olympic boxing finalist in the shape of Ulsterman John McNally. The Hämäläinen-McNally fight was a clash of styles with the Finn, the shorter man, attempting to crowd the taller, more mobile Irishman. Although the decision in favour of Hämäläinen was hugely popular inside the arena the Irish team were convinced their man had been harshly treated by the judges who split 2-1 against McNally.

Hämäläinen returned to the Olympics in 1956 to win a bronze medal before embarking on a professional career which petered out quickly. The boxer that later went on to gain the most fame, albeit in a tragic way, was American Davey Moore. He may only have been a quarter-finalist in Helsinki but he went to a glittering career as a professional and had a four-year reign as world featherweight champion. In 1963 he defended his title on live television against Sugar Ramos of Mexico. In the 8th round he was knocked down and in the process of falling struck his head against the bottom rope and suffered a brain stem injury. He fought on for a few rounds before the referee stopped but later collapsed in his dressing room. Moore slipped into a coma and died a few days later. His story was immortalised in the Bob Dylan song "Who Killed Davey Moore".

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Pentti Hämäläinen 22 Finland FIN Gold
2 John McNally 19 Ireland IRL Silver
3T Gang Jun-Ho 24 South Korea KOR Bronze
3T Gennady Garbuzov 21 Soviet Union URS Bronze
5T František Majdloch 22 Czechoslovakia TCH
5T Davey Moore 18 United States USA
5T Lennie von Graevenitz 17 South Africa RSA
5T Vincenzo Dall'Osso 23 Italy ITA
9T Fazlollah Nikkhah 21 Iran IRI
9T Egon Schidan 21 Germany GER
9T Ibrahim Abdrabbou 27 Egypt EGY
9T Alejandro Ortuoste 21 Philippines PHI
9T Angel Figueroa 22 Puerto Rico PUR
9T Raúl Macías 17 Mexico MEX
9T Henryk Niedźwiedzki 19 Poland POL
9T Ion Zlătaru 24 Romania ROU
17T Tiến Vình 31 South Vietnam VNM
17T Angel Amaya 18 Venezuela VEN
17T Jean Renard 20 Belgium BEL
17T Tommy Nicholls 20 Great Britain GBR
17T Ron Gower 23 Australia AUS
17T Antoine Martin 19 France FRA
17T Rómulo Parés 27 Argentina ARG