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Boxing at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's Flyweight

Boxing at the 1956 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): West Melbourne Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 23, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: GBR Terry Spinks
Silver: ROU Mircea Dobrescu
Bronze: FRA René Libeer
IRL Johnny Caldwell

Summary

After wins by Argentine and American boxers in 1948 and 1952 the balance of power in the flyweight division appeared to have shifted towards Europe by the time of the Melbourne Olympics. Amongst those favoured to make an impression in Melbourne were two European champions, the 1955 gold medallist Edgar Basel of Germany and Henryk Kukier who had won gold for Poland in 1953. Vladimir Stolnikov of the USSR and Mircea Dobrescu of Romania were also considered as medal contenders. With 19 boxers entered only three first round fights were needed but the luck of the draw pitted Stolnikov and Basel together and the German, who had reached the Olympic final in 1952, was eliminated by the Soviet. Stolnikov's run was surprisingly ended by the teenaged Briton, Terry Spinks. Spinks was a late addition to the British team having originally been left out due to his youth and a perceived lack of experience. A press campaign orchestrated by the journalist Reg Gutteridge had helped change the selectors' minds. The Londoner proved a revelation as he used his lightning hand speed to pepper his rivals with a succession of quick fire punches and he comfortably outpointed Dobrescu in the final to become the first British fighter to win an Olympic title since 1924.

Ironically Spinks' Olympic success may have adversely affected his professional career. He was matched against older and more experienced opponents from early in the career and, although he did become British champion, he walked away from the sport at the age of just 24 after a series of hard fights. More successful as professionals were Irish bronze medallist Johnny Caldwell and Italy's Salvatore Burruni and both became world champions.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Terry Spinks 18 Great Britain GBR Gold
2 Mircea Dobrescu 26 Romania ROU Silver
3T Johnny Caldwell 18 Ireland IRL Bronze
3T René Libeer 21 France FRA Bronze
5T Ray Perez 17 United States USA
5T Warner Batchelor 22 Australia AUS
5T Kenji Yonekura 22 Japan JPN
5T Vladimir Stolnikov Soviet Union URS
9T Federico Bonus 20 Philippines PHI
9T František Majdloch 27 Czechoslovakia TCH
9T Yaishwe Best 17 Myanmar MYA
9T Henryk Kukier 26 Poland POL
9T Phachon Muangson Thailand THA
9T Pyo Hyeon-Gi 23 South Korea KOR
9T Salvatore Burruni 23 Italy ITA
9T Abel Laudonio 18 Argentina ARG
17T Edgar Basel 26 Germany GER
17T Samuel Harris Pakistan PAK
17T Eddie Ludick 17 South Africa RSA