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Nikolai Stepulov

Full name: Nikolai Stepulov
Gender: Male
Born: March 20, 1913 in Narva, Ida-Virumaa, Estonia
Died: January 2, 1968 in Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia
Affiliations: Tallinna Poksiklubi
Country: EST Estonia
Sport: Boxing

Medals: 1 Silver (1 Total)


Nikolai Stepulov lived a very controversial life. During his sporting career, he was considered as a hero by the Estonian people, but his actions during the first days of World War II brought him the reputation as a war criminal and a traitor to Estonia and in his later life, Stepulov was just a plain criminal. Stepulov took up boxing in 1927 and soon rose to be one of the top boxers of the country. During his youth, Stepulov was known for his leftist views and his first international tournament was the second Workers’ Olympiad held in 1931 in Vienna, where he won a bronze medal. Stepulov won six Estonian titles in a row from 1933-37, the first five in lightweight and the last in welterweight. Stepulov competed at the 1936 Olympics and at the 1934 and 1937 European Championships, winning silvers at the Olympics and 1937 Europeans, losing in the Olympic final to Hungarian [Imre Harangi] by decision and to German Herbert Nürnberg in 1937, also by decision.

At the time of the 1936 Olympics, Stepulov served in the Estonian Army as a private and was raised to the rank of corporal after the Olympics. After his service Stepulov worked as a messenger with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, but turned professional in 1938. As a professional, Stepulov was not very successful and when World War II cut his career short, Stepulov had a record of 5 wins (4 KO), 5 losses (KOby 2) and 1 draw. In 1940, when Soviet troops occupied Estonia, Stepulov enlisted in the Soviet militia, and as he had served in the Army before, he was given his own squad to lead. The Soviet militia’s first assignment in newly occupied Estonia was to gather weapons from the members of the Estonian Defense League, an Estonian paramilitary defense organization. On the morning of 21 June 1940, Stepulov gave his squad the order to shoot mostly unarmed members of the Estonian Defense League who had voluntarily gathered in their command post in Tallinn to give up their weapons. The firefight resulted in 17 dead and over a dozen wounded and after that action the communists faith in Stepulov also faded and he was arrested. Stepulov spent most of World War II in prison and after his release, took up boxing again. In 1945, Stepulov won a silver in welterweight at the first Estonian SSR Championships, but soon after that retired from boxing.

After retiring from boxing, Stepulov was unable to find a steady job, working mostly in temporary jobs in various factories, as a turf cutter, as a lumberjack and as occasional boxing coach and referee. Stepulov also started drinking and eventually fell in with a bad element. In 1955, Stepulov was arrested on burglary charges for the first time and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Although he was paroled after four years, the rest of his life was spent in and out of prison, mostly on burglary charges. In his later years, Stepulov suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died in Tallinn’s Central Prison hospital on the second day of 1968, just two months before his 55th birthday.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1936 Summer 23 Berlin Boxing Men's Lightweight Estonia EST 2 Silver

Men's Lightweight

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result MR
1936 Summer 23 Berlin Boxing Estonia EST Final Round Match 1/2 2 1936-08-15 Harangi (HUN) , Stepulov (EST)
1936 Summer 23 Berlin Boxing Estonia EST Semi-Finals Match #2 1 1936-08-14 Stepulov (EST) , Ågren (SWE) decision
1936 Summer 23 Berlin Boxing Estonia EST Quarter-Finals Match #4 1 1936-08-13 Stepulov (EST) , Lillo (CHI) decision
1936 Summer 23 Berlin Boxing Estonia EST Round Two Match #5 1 1936-08-12 Stepulov (EST) , Nagamatsu (JPN) decision
1936 Summer 23 Berlin Boxing Estonia EST Round One Match #7 1 1936-08-11 Stepulov (EST) , Wollscheidt (LUX) decision
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