Boxing at the Olympic Games
Boxing has been contested at every Summer Olympic Games since 1904, except for in 1912 in Stockholm as Swedish law banned the sport at the time. In 2009, the IOC voted to include women's boxing at the 2012 London Games, so now there are men and women competing in all Olympic sports. In 2016, head guards were scrapped for the men and electronic scoring replaced.
2016 Boxing Events
Women's boxing, which was introduced to the Olympic program in 2012, remains with just three weight classes. In the men's division, the Featherweight weight was dropped in 2012 and the weight limits adjusted for Fly and Bantam classes, leaving 10 weight classes from light flyweight to super-heavyweight. For the female boxers, the three weight divisions are flyweight, lightweight and middleweight. The male boxing bouts are contested over three 3-minute rounds, female bouts are four 2-minute rounds.
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Olympic Games Boxing Trivia
- Under Swedish law, boxing was not allowed at the 1912 Stockholm Games. This is the only time that boxing has not been on the program since it was introduced in 1904.
- Women's boxing first appeared in the Olympic Games as a demonstration sport in 1904. It was not until the 2012 Olympics that it was again included on the Olympic program.
- Until 1936, weight classes were measured in pounds, and changed to kilograms from 1948 onwards.
- American Eddie Eagan, who was a boxing gold medalist at the 1920 Games, became the only person to have won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Games. He also won gold at the 1932 Lake Placid Games in the team bobsled event.
- During the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, Romanian Boxer Nicolae Berechet was eliminated in the first round of the featherweight class. On August 11, 1936, a few days after match, he died mysteriously of blood poisoning and was buried in Berlin.
- In Rome, 1960, 18-year-old boxer Cassius Clay - later to be known as Muhammad Ali - became the light heavyweight boxing champion. In 1996, he returned to the Olympic Games to light the cauldron at the start of the Centennial Games.
- Future professional boxing star George Foreman won the heavyweight gold medal at Mexico City in 1968
- Lennox Lewis, fighting for Canada, won the super heavyweight gold medal at Seoul in 1988 before switching allegiance to Britain and becoming the country's greatest ever heavyweight.
- In 1976, five American boxers won gold medals, including three future world boxing champs: Ray Leonard, Michael Spinks, and Leon Spinks.
- In 1980, super-heavyweight Teófilo Stevenson of Cuba became the first boxer to win in the same weight division three times in a row.
- In 1992, Cuba won seven gold medals in boxing.
- At the 2000 Games, the boxing format was changed from the customary three three-minute rounds to four two-minute rounds.
- The best all-time performing Boxer at the Olympic Games is tied with László Papp, Félix Savón and Teófilo Stevenson all with 3 gold medals. See more on the Greatest Boxers at the Olympics.
- A bout in the women's competition in 2012 between eventual champion Katie Taylor of Ireland and home favorite Natasha Jonas registered the highest decibel level of any event across the entire Games.
- In 2016, head guards were scrapped for the men and electronic scoring replaced. In a controversial decision, it was decided that for the first time professional boxers will be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympic Games.
- A familiar name was on the boxing card for the 2016 Games, an unrelated Muhammad Ali was representing the UK.
- Current rules stipulate that boxers are not allowed to compete over the age of 40