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Boxing at the 1960 Roma Summer Games:

Men's Light-Heavyweight

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Host City: Roma, Italy
Venue(s): Sports Palace, Roma
Date Started: August 26, 1960
Date Finished: September 5, 1960
Format: Single elimination tournament.

Gold: USA Cassius Clay
Silver: POL Zbigniew Pietrzykowski
Bronze: ITA Giulio Saraudi
AUS Tony Madigan


[Yvon Becot], [Gennady Shatkov], [Tony Madigan], and [Zbigniew Pietrzykowski]. All boxers in this class, their names remain as answers to the trivia question of who lost to the eventual winner, one [Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.]. The original favorite in the event was either the Pole Pietrzykowski, who had won Olympic bronze in 1956 as a light-middleweight, and was already a three-time European champion (1955, 1957, 1959), or Shatkov, the 1956 Olympic gold medalist as a middleweight. But the American coaches touted Clay, a reed-thin 18-year-old with lightning-fast hands from Louisville, Kentucky, who stood 187 cm (6-3) tall, and would later grow into a large heavyweight. Clay had won the Chicago Golden Gloves title in 1959 and 1960, adding the 1960 AAU titles and Olympic Trials. In Rome, he won his first bout over Becot by TKO, then won unanimous decisions over Shatkov and Madigan to advance to the final against Pietrzykowski. Pietrzykowski was a formidable opponent and had a slight lead after two rounds, but Clay, told by his seconds that he needed to knockout the Pole to win, pummeled him in the final round. Pietrzykowski stayed upright, but Clay had another unanimous decision and the gold medal.

Pietrzykowski would come back in 1964 to add a bronze medal in this class, and he won his fourth European title in 1963. Right after the Olympics, Clay turned professional, winning his first fight against Tunney Hunsaker. In 1964 he would win the world heavyweight title by defeating the Big Bear, Sonny Liston. Clay became one of the world's most popular athletes. Handsome, he never failed to mention that fact, calling himself pretty, and he began reciting poetry, often before his bouts, and often predicting in which rounds he would knock out his opponent. "Float like a buttefly, sting like a bee, his hands can't hit, what his eyes can't see", became his mantra.

After winning the world professional title, Clay adopted the Muslim faith and took the name Muhammad Ali, by which he would become forever after known. Ali claimed conscientious objection to the war in Vietnam and was stripped of his professional title by US authorities, stating "I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong." He fought the decision, eventually winning in the US Supreme Court, and then came back to boxing. In the early 1970s Ali had three epic bouts with the 1964 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist, [Joe Frazier], winning the last two, including the final drama, The Thrilla in Manila, considered by many as the greatest heavyweight bout ever. Ali would eventually win the world heavyweight title three times, also defeating the 1968 gold medalist, [George Foreman], and the 1976 light-heavyweight gold medalist, [Leon Spinks], to do so. Sadly, like many boxers, he fought too long, and later suffered from Parkinson's disease, probably from the effects of so many punches causing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which rendered the Louisville Lip silent. In 1996 he thrilled American sports fans when )The Greatest) overcame his shaking to light the Olympic torch at the Atlanta Opening Ceremony.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinal RoundSemi-FinalsQuarter-FinalsRound TwoRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Cassius Clay 18 United States USA Gold
2 Zbigniew Pietrzykowski 25 Poland POL Silver
3T Tony Madigan 30 Australia AUS Bronze
3T Giulio Saraudi 22 Italy ITA Bronze
5T Gennady Shatkov 28 Soviet Union URS
5T Gheorghe Negrea 26 Romania ROU
5T Rafael Gargiulo 23 Argentina ARG
5T Petar Spasov 26 Bulgaria BUL
9T Ray Cillien 21 Luxembourg LUX
9T Yvon Becaus 24 Belgium BEL
9T Lars-Olof Norling 24 Sweden SWE
9T George Oywello 21 Uganda UGA
9T Muhammad Safdar 25 Pakistan PAK
9T José Leite 22 Brazil BRA
9T Emil Willer 27 Germany GER
9T Matti Aho 26 Finland FIN
17T Carl Crawford 24 Guyana GUY
17T Johnny Ould 20 Great Britain GBR
17T Colm McCoy 23 Ireland IRL