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Boxing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:

Men's Heavyweight

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): Mexico Arena, Ciudad de México
Date Started: October 16, 1968
Date Finished: October 26, 1968
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: USA George Foreman
Silver: URS Jonas Čepulis
Bronze: ITA Giorgio Bambini
MEX Joaquín Rocha

Summary

With the heavyweight final the last bout of the Mexico City Olympics, it was noted that only one American fighter, Ronnie Harris, had won a gold medal, despite the United States' normal dominance at previous Olympics. The United States had a fighter in the heavyweight final, George Foreman, but he was very inexperienced, having had only 18 amateur fights prior to Mexico City. He won his first Olympic fight by 4-1 decision and then pummeled his next two opponents to advance to the final against Lithuanian Soviet Jonas Čepulis. The final was more of the same as the referee stopped the bout early in the second round, giving Foreman the gold medal. He made many fans in the United States when he paraded around the ring after his victory carrying a small American flag, in contrast to the protests that several American blacks had made in Mexico City, notably Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium after the 200 metre dash, which were not well received at the time.

A huge puncher, Foreman turned professional after Mexico City and quickly became one of the world's top heavyweights. In January 1973, he knocked out the world champion and 1964 Olympic gold medalist Joe Frazier, to win the world heavyweight title, knocking him down 6 times in 2 rounds, as ring announcer Howard Cosell announced repeatedly, "Down goes Frazier." Undefeated through 34 bouts, in 1974 he fought Muhammad Ali in a title bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, which Ali alliteratively titled "The Rumble in the Jungle." A seeming mismatch as Ali, the 1960 light-heavyweight gold medalist, was now older and past his prime, but he brought back the brilliance to win by knockout in the eighth round. Foreman came back in 1976 to win the NABF heavyweight title against Ron Lyle, and defended it in 1977 with a TKO of Frazier. After losing in 1977 to Jimmy Young, Foreman retired, or so it seemed, and became a preacher.

However, 10 years later, the 38-year-old Foreman came out of retirement in 1987 and fought for another decade. He won 24 consecutive bouts in his comeback, before losing a title fight to Evander Holyfield, but in 1994 Foreman stunningly defeated Michael Moorer to win the WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles, at the age of 45 years. At his final retirement in 1997, we think, his career professional record was 76 wins, 68 by knockout, and 5 losses.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 George Foreman 19 United States USA Gold
2 Jonas Čepulis 29 Soviet Union URS Silver
3T Giorgio Bambini 23 Italy ITA Bronze
3T Joaquín Rocha 24 Mexico MEX Bronze
5T Ion Alexe 22 Romania ROU
5T Kiril Pandov 25 Bulgaria BUL
5T Rudie Lubbers 23 Netherlands NED
5T Bernd Anders 26 East Germany GDR
9T Lucjan Trela 26 Poland POL
9T John Coker 28 Sierra Leone SLE
9T Petar Miloš 27 Yugoslavia YUG
9T Dieter Renz 25 West Germany FRG
9T Talaat Dahshan 25 Egypt EGY
9T Adonis Ray 24 Ghana GHA
9T Nancio Carrillo 18 Cuba CUB
9T Billy Wells 32 Great Britain GBR