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Former Olympic boxing champion Teofilo Stevenson passes away

Former Olympic boxing champion Teofilo Stevenson passes away

THE former Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, who won three gold medals in the Olympics, has passed away. He was 60.

Mr. Stevenson, who was born in Jamaica but brought up in Cuba, was regarded as being the greatest amateur heavyweight boxer of his time.

He dominated three consecutive Olympics, producing what some commentators dubbed a ‘reign of terror’ during the games in Munich in 1972, Montreal in 1976 and Moscow in 1980. He missed out on going for a fourth gold medal when Cuba joined the boycott of the Olympics when they were held in Los Angeles in 1984.

His sensational performances led to boxing promoters in the United States offering the Cuban a $5million deal to turn professional and box Muhammad Ali. But Mr. Stevenson turned down the offer, saying that he wished to remain true to the Cuban revolution which outlawed professional sports.

At the time he told reporters: “What is 5 million dollars compared to the affection of eight million Cubans.”

He maintained that the professional fight game was never for him, saying: “I think professsional boxing is inhumane. I think in the professional fight game there are other interests, financial interests, material things.”

Mr. Stevenson and Muhammad Ali did meet when the former World Champion visited Cuba in 1998.

Following his retirement in 1988, Mr. Stevenson worked as a coach with the Cuban Ministry of Sport.

Officials in Cuba said the former Olympic champion had passed away after suffering a heart attack.

To view a tribute to Teofilo Stevenson, click here.


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