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Boxing at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Men's Middleweight

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Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Germany Hall, Berlin
Date Started: August 11, 1936
Date Finished: August 15, 1936
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: FRA Jean Despeaux
Silver: NOR Henry Tiller
Bronze: ARG Raúl Villarreal


One of the hot favourites for the Olympic title never reached the ring. [Irving Pease] of Canada was considered the best fighter from outside Europe but failed to make the required weight amidst allegations from the Canadian delegation that he had treated the trip to Berlin as a mere “joyride”.

When the competition got underway the crowd saw the first ever Chinese boxer take part in Olympic competition although his début was a brief one. [Chin Kuaiti] was knocked out in the opening round of his first bout but his opponent, [Shrimpton] of Britain, was then disqualified for not obeying the referee's instructions prior to the knockout blow. Unfortunately for the Chinese boxer the decision was reversed the next day.

Two other boxers who failed to record a victory were the reigning European champion, [Lajos Szigeti] of Hungary and the welterweight bronze medallist from Los Angeles, Finland’s [Bruno Ahlberg], both were defeated in the second series having drawn byes in the first round of competition. The Norwegian fighter [Henry Tiller] moved through the rounds and his countrymen began seeing him as a prospective champion when he defeated the champions of South Africa, England and Germany in succession and then knocked down [Chmielewski] of Poland "at least half a dozen" times to gain a place in the gold medal match. The Norwegians were to be disappointed by a stylish French boxer by the name of [Jean Despeaux]. Despeaux varied his punches and style of fighting during the final and avoided the harder punches of Tiller. The Frenchman's speed of hand became the deciding factor as the final was fought at a distance.

When the two men met again later in the year, Tiller beat Despeaux in contests in both Trondheim and Oslo. Despeaux turned professional and continued to box during the German occupation. He held the national middleweight twice between 1941 and 1945. After the war he had a brief career acting in French movies. Tiller stayed as an amateur and dominated Norwegian boxing, he even claimed the British ABA championship in 1938 - a rarity for a fighter from outside Britain and Ireland and unique for a Norwegian. He would have been one for the favourites if the 1940 Games had gone ahead. With the lure of an Olympic title gone, he opted for a professional career which ended prematurely after the German invasion of Norway.

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Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Jean Despeaux 20 France FRA Gold
2 Henry Tiller 22 Norway NOR Silver
3 Raúl Villarreal 26 Argentina ARG Bronze
4 Henryk Chmielewski 22 Poland POL
5T Tin Dekkers 19 Netherlands NED
5T Josef Hrubeš 19 Czechoslovakia TCH
5T Jimmy Clark 22 United States USA
5T Addi Baumgarten 21 Germany GER
9T Hans Zehetmayer 27 Austria AUT
9T Gunnar Andreasen 22 Denmark DEN
9T Lajos Szigeti 29 Hungary HUN
9T Juan Bregaliano 24 Uruguay URU
9T Bruno Ahlberg 25 Finland FIN
9T Albert De Schryver 20 Belgium BEL
9T Benito Totti 22 Italy ITA
9T Richard Shrimpton 26 Great Britain GBR
17T Alfred Flury 21 Switzerland SUI
17T Eddie Peltz 19 South Africa RSA
17T Chin Kuaiti 21 China CHN