Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: August 3, 1996
Format: Single elimination tournament.
|Bronze:|| Raimkul Malakhbekov
Hungary's István Kovács had been the favourite for the flyweight title in Barcelona but had suffered a disappointing loss in the semi-finals. In the following years his form dipped noticeably as he moved in weight to the bantamweight division and there were rumours that he had forsaken training for partying. At the beginning of 1996 everything seemed to click back into place for the Hungarian and in April he won the European Championships, his first major title since before the 1992 Games. Kovács made serene progress through the tournament and reached the final without ever being but under strong pressure. The same could be said of his two greatest rivals up until the semi-final stage but Raimkul Malakhbekov, the world champion from Russia and Cuban veteran Arnaldo Mesa were then involved in a ferocious battle for the other place in the final which was only resolved in a victory for Cuban on count back after a 14-14 tie. Mesa had not been due to compete in this weight category but the defection of reigning Olympic champion Joël Casamayor to the United States caused Cuba to restructure their team.
The first round of the final was a tepid affair with the Hungarian cautiously edging into a small lead but the second round was very different and proved to be a tour de force for Kovács as he picked off the onrushing Mesa seemingly at will and cruised into a seven point lead that could not be pegged back. He became the first Hungarian to win an Olympic boxing gold since the Munich Games of 1972.
Kovács resisted the temptation to turn professional straight away in order to contest the 1997 World Championships which were to be held in Budapest. After duly winning that title he stepped into the professional ranks and went on a run of 19 successive victories which included a victory in a fight for the European title. In his 20th fight he won the vacant WBO world title but his reign as Hungary's first professional world title holder was brief as he lost the title on his first defence to fellow Atlanta medallist Pablo Chacón.
|9T||Zahir Raheem||19||United States||USA|
|9T||Bae Gi-Ung||22||South Korea||KOR|
|9T||Abdel Aziz Boulehia||25||Algeria||ALG|
|9T||Johnny Nolasco||20||Dominican Republic||DOM|
|17T||Hoe Jong-Jil||23||North Korea||PRK|
|17T||John Hamed Larbi||19||Sweden||SWE|
|17T||José Cotto||19||Puerto Rico||PUR|