Host City: Beijing, China
Date Started: August 9, 2008
Date Finished: August 24, 2008
Participants: 283 (283 men and 0 women) from 77 countries
Youngest Participant: Furkan Ulaş Memiş (17 years, 113 days)
Oldest Participant: Jean de Dieu Soloniaina (34 years, 167 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 44 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Cuba (8 medals)
The site for the boxing matches in 2008 was the Workers’ Indoor Arena, also known as the Beijing Workers’ Gymnasium. An indoor facility that had been built in 1961 for the World Table Tennis Championships, the arena had seating capacity of about 13,000 for the Olympic boxing tournament. As in 2004, there were 11 classes for men in boxing. This was the last Olympics at which boxing would be contested only by men, as women’s boxing was accepted for the 2012 Olympic program.
The biggest shock of the 2008 Olympic boxing was the fact that Cuba, the dominant amateur boxing nation since the mid-1970s, did not win a single gold medal. Despite boycotting the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, Cuba had won 32 boxing gold medals since 1972, never winning less than three at any Games at which they appeared, with high marks of 7 in 1992, 6 in 1980, and 5 in 2004. The reason for this was that Cuban boxers had begun to defect whenever they were out of the country for an international meet, so many of the top boxers had left, and a few others who tried or were suspected of defecting were removed from the national team. This became so rampant that Cuba did not compete at the 2007 World Championships, and the national team was a shadow of its former self. With the events more open, the 11 gold medals were won by nine nations, with China and Russia both winning two gold medals.