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Boxing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games

2016 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games


Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date Started: August 6, 2016
Date Finished: August 21, 2016
Events: 13

Participants: 283 (247 men and 36 women) from 76 countries
Youngest Participant: CAF Judith Mbougnade (18 years, 33 days)
Oldest Participant: THA Amnat Ruenroeng (36 years, 233 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 51 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): UZB Uzbekistan (7 medals)


What was traditionally known as amateur boxing had been little of the sort for many decades.

From the fifties onwards state sponsored amateurism had been a fact of life in the communist bloc.

Later an evolution of this system had spread throughout the world so that a majority of the world’s best amateurs were better paid than most professionals.

AIBA abandoned all pretence of amateurism over a period that began before the 2012 Olympics and culminated in the appearance of fully professional fighters at the Rio Games. A semi-professional franchise based team competition, the World Series of Boxing, began in 2010 and was followed in 2014 by the fully professional AIBA Pro Boxing series where a dozen elite boxers in each weight division could fight without losing Olympic eligibility. The qualifying system for Rio reflected these changes and guaranteed a number of places for boxers qualifying via the WSB and APB routes in addition to the World Championships and continental qualifying routes. Finally, less than three months before the games were to start, AIBA announced that the final barrier was to be lowered and all boxers were eligible to compete at the final global Olympic qualifiers regardless of any previous professional experience.

Inside the ring there were more changes too - although the weight divisions and, to the disappointment of proponents of women’s boxing, the 10-3 split in favour of men’s events remained. Gone were head guards for men’s boxing and electronic scoring was abandoned for all as the switch was made to the “10 point must” system that had been used universally in the professional form of the sport for decades. This was not completely popular with fears that biased or even corrupt decisions would become more possible with this method. Although there were a few decisions that were widely booed in the arena, the fears of a debacle did not come true.

Uzbekistan topped the medal table with 3 golds among their seven medals with Cuba, who still refused on principle to send female fighters to the Games, next in line ahead of France. It was an Uzbek, [Hasanboy Dusmatov], who won the Val Barker trophy for the outstanding male boxer while the newly instituted female version of the award went to America’s [Claressa Shields]. Shields was one of three boxers to repear their Olympic wins from London alongside [Robeisy Ramírez] of Cuba (albeit in a higher weight category) and Great Britain’s [Nicola Adams]. The French success at the Games pivoted around an engaged couple, [Tony Yoka] and [Estelle Mossely], whose gold medals in the sport now account for more a third of France’s Olympic titles in the sport.