The Val Barker Trophy — The Aftermath

By Cain Bradley on June 9, 2016
The Val Barker Trophy — The Aftermath
Salido used all his nous as a professional to rough up Lomachenko and take the decision.

From this it can be seen that being the best boxer at an Olympic Games is not a great indicator for future success…

The Val Barker trophy is handed out at every Olympic Games. Named after the British man who would become the first honorary secretary of AIBA, it goes to the most impressive boxer at an Olympic Games, signifying the best pound-for-pound boxer. This article will look at who won the awards, how they won them, and what they went on to do after the win.

The inaugural winner of the Val Barker trophy was Louis Laurie. The young American was only 18 at the time of the Olympics and surprisingly did not win a gold medal. Louis Laurie only won bronze but it was decided that his style was the most scientific and thus, the most impressive. He only had 22 amateur bouts but would make up for his lack of experience with his technical ability. He won three bouts at the Olympics, beating Rudolf Bezdek, Asbjorn Berg-Hansen and Edmund Sobkowiak. He would lose in the semi finals to the eventual silver medalist, Gavino Motta who was perhaps unlikely to come up against a home boxer. The loser from the other semifinal Alfredo Carlomango was not able to box Laurie for the bronze, so he won it by walkover. His style was so impressive that it was requested that he box an exhibition.

He would turn professional not long after the Olympics and box under Sam Barber. Joey Wells would defeat him in his debut, but he would get the win back in his next fight. With this win he would go on a streak of eight wins, the best of his career. He would also move to Chicago, to be managed by Jack Hurley. The loss to end the streak was to a debutant, Sammy Sferas. After three straight losses in 1939 he decided to give up boxing. After a year, with persuasion from Max Minnich he would return at featherweight. He would never recreate the promise he had shown at the 36 Olympics and ended with a record of 16-11-1 before fighting in the war and eventually becoming a machinist. It is incredibly difficult to find information about the boxing at the 1936 Olympics, picking a better candidate for the Val Barker Trophy is almost impossible. To make matters more difficult, none of the gold medal winners went on to have impressive professional careers.

After a 12-year break it was George Hunter who won the Val Barker Trophy. The 21-year-old South African was a phenom in the light heavyweight division. He was handed a difficult draw but made his way through it, continually impressing. He beat Ray Edwards, Chuck Spieser, Harry Siljander and Mauro Cia to make the final. In the final he would take on Don Scott. The impressive Englishman was favorite giving home advantage but George Hunter won a close contest with a unanimous decision. Following the win, Hunter would turn professional.

He won his first professional bout by disqualification but would lose his second bout. He would mainly be productive on the regional scene, where in his sixth bout he won the South African Transvaal (White) championship. It was Billy Wood that he beat to win the title, with a unanimous decision. He managed to make a couple of defenses of the bout but would lose it after. He ended his career with a record of 13-6. The two gold medal winners who went on to have the most successful careers were Laszlo Papp and Pascual Perez.

For the second consecutive Olympics, the winner would come from the light-heavyweight division. The American Norvel Lee won the crown. He began his career in 1947 with the military and lost out in a 1948 Olympic trial to Jay Lambert. He would win the first two AAU titles of the 1950s and the Olympic Games would be his crowning glory. He was often mistaken for Joe Louis due to his skill and stature. At the ‘52 Olympic Games he would defeat Claude Arnaiz, Tadeusz Grzelak, Harri Siljander and Antonio Pacenza in the final.

After his Olympic win there were repeated offers for him to turn professional but he refused them all. Norvel believed that his boxing style would not lend itself to the professional game plus he thought of himself as too old. He would continue to box until 1955 when he won a Silver medal in the Pan-American Games. His record ended at an impressive 100-5. In retirement he would become a member of the WBC executive board. When speaking of boxing this Olympics tends to be remembered for the performances of Floyd Patterson.

The only British winner of the Val Barker award is Richard McTaggart. Born in Scotland in 1935, he was one of three brothers, all of whom were very impressive boxers. Dick, as he was known, was a boxer for the Royal Air Force. He was a right-handed southpaw making him very awkward to deal with. He had very good footwork, using small movements to control the range. Heading into the Olympics he was considered to be a rank outsider. He defeated Chandrasena Jayasuria, Andre Vairolatto and Anatoly Lagetko en route to the final. His opponent in the final was Harry Kurschat who was the European Champion. Dick would come out quickly and landed his lethal right hand early, knocking Kurschat down twice in round one. He would go on to win the decision and the Olympic gold.

Dick remained unmoved by the big money offers he received as he never wanted boxing to become his job. He went on to become a five-time ABA champion and competed at two more Olympics. Both times he would lose to the eventual winners in Kazimierz Pazdzior and Jerzy Kulej. In retirement he would go on to be a coach, leading the Scottish team into the 1990 Commonwealth Games. He finished with a record of 610-24 and Henry Carpenter described him as the greatest amateur. High praise indeed, and given his impressive performances at the Games, it is hard to list out other potential winners of the award.

The winner of the award at the 1960 Olympics in Rome was the Italian Giovanni Benvenuti. He took up boxing at a young age and developed into an outstanding prospect having been inspired by Duilio Loi. He won five consecutive Italian titles between 1956 and 1960 as well as European titles in 1957 and 1959. He could box in any way necessary as an amateur and was favorite heading into the Olympics. He would defeat Jean Josselin and future World Champion Ki-Soo Kim to reach the quarterfinals. Chichman Mitzev was next, before Jimmy Lloyd and finally Yuri Radonyak were beating to give Nino the gold medal. He would turn professional not long after the Olympics having amassed a 120-1 record.

Nino would start his career with one of the more impressive winning streaks. He won 65 bouts, including defeating Sandro Mazzinghi for the WBA and WBC light middleweight titles. He would lose his title to old rival Ki-Soo Kim on a slight decision before moving up to middleweight. He shared a sensational trilogy with Emile Griffith including a bout voted the Ring Fight of the Year. He won the first and third fights to be WBA and WBC middleweight champion. He would lose to Dick Tiger and Carlos Monzon late in his career but had impressive wins over Luis Manuel Rodriguez and Don Fullmer. His professional record would finish at 82-7-1. Nino will go down as a legend and one of Europe’s best ever boxers but he may have been awarded a home town decision. One of the more impressive boxers in the Games was a young American called Cassius Clay who would go on to become a legend.

Valeri Popenchenko never wanted to be his boxer. His main interest was hurdling but when he did not show the desirable skill level, he took up boxing at the age of 12. He was one of the hardest punchers in amateur boxing and used a stalking style with his hands held low. By the 1964 Olympics he had won five Soviet championships as well as the European Championships in 1963. At the Olympics he would start slowly, beating Sultan Mahumud and Joe Darkey. In the semi final he would stop Tadeusz Walasek and then Emil Schulz to win the gold.

He would continue to box into 1965 when he would win Soviet and European titles. He was shielded from the lure of professional boxing which perhaps robbed the game of a unique stylist whose power would surely translate to the professional ranks. In 1965 he would retire in order to continue his studies. He began work as the head of the physical culture department at Moscow State Technical University. A tragedy would occur when at the age of 37 he would visit a construction site and fall down three flights of stairs. The performances of Popenchenko, especially in the latter stages, probably deserved the Val Barker trophy but Joe Frazier would also have been a worthy recipient.

The only African winner of this award was Philip Waruinge, the Kenyan. He would box out of the famous Nakaru gym and in 1962 at only 17 would win a bronze at the Commonwealth Games. This was despite fighting up a weight class. He would continue his rise by winning the All-Africa games in 1965 and finally winning the Commonwealth Games in 1966. He would box at featherweight in the 1968 Olympics comfortably beating Jean-Paul Anton and Mohamed Sourour. He defeated Miguel Garcia in the quarter finals to guarantee himself a medal. In the semi final he would box Antonio Roldan, the home town favorite. Waruinge looked to get the better of Roldan but Roldan was gifted a split decision victory, consigning Waruinge to a bronze medal.

He would remain as an amateur after the Olympics. Once again he would win the Commonwealth Games in 1970. In 1972 when one of the favorites he would make the final edging a decision over Clementine Rojas in the semi final. This time it was the final where Waruinge was to be robbed in a fight that he looked like he had won against Boris Kuznetsov. He had to settle for silver. With a second Olympic disappointment he chose to turn professional in 1973 at Super Bantamweight. His biggest claim to fame can be losing to Carlos Zarate as part of his 14-10-1 record. Waruinge was blighted by troubles in his left eye that still exist. The other contender for the Val Barker in 1968 was George Foreman who won all but one bout by stoppage on his way to the gold medal.

Teofilo Stevenson was nine when he began boxing and his sheer size marked him out as someone to watch. After impressive results as a junior he lost in the final of the 1970 Central American Championships. Stevenson would win his first gold at 20, at the 1972 Munich Olympics. In the first round it was Ludwik Denderys who he dropped in thirty seconds. Trevor Bobick was the tournament favorite and despite being marginally behind on the scorecards he came out and stopped Bobick in the final round. Peter Hussing, also considered a contender was stopped in the second round of the semifinal. Ion Alexe was his opponent in the final but due to injuries he would not make it, handing Stevenson the gold. Stevenson was 6’5” and used his length as a counterpuncher with a flicking, long jab. He also had a booming right hand which came from a textbook guard.

One of only three men to win three Olympic gold medals, Teofilo Stevenson is often regarded as one of the greatest amateur boxers ever. He would follow this up with victories in ‘76 and ‘80 before having the chance to win a fourth taking away by the Soviet Union boycott of the 1984 Olympics. He won three of the four World Championships he entered, only losing to Francesco Damiani, a future WBO world champion who would only lose twice as a pro. Being Cuban he could not turn professional but being in the same era as Muhammad Ali led to numerous rumours. He was reportedly offer millions, but stated “What is millions of dollars, compared to the love of millions of Cubans.”

Howard Davis Jr. was part of the 1976 American Olympic Dream team. He learned to box from his father having been inspired by a movie about Muhammad Ali. He had won the gold medal at the inaugural 1974 World Championships and was favorite for the lightweight gold heading into the Olympics. In order to qualify for the Olympics he had to beat American teammates Aaron Pryor and Thomas Hearns. Still a young man at 20, his mother died a week before the Olympics begun. He started off by defeating Yukio Segawa and then two stoppage victories over Leonidas Asprilla and Tzvetan Tzvetkov. In the semifinal it was Ace Rusevski he defeated before a win over Simion Cutov handed him the gold.

He would turn professional soon after the Olympics having amassed a record of 125-5. He signed a huge contract which saw him earn over 100k a fight. He would win his first 13 fights before losing a close decision to World Champion Jim Watt. He would soon go on another winning streak and would challenge Edwin Rosario for his world title at 26-1. Rosario would win a split decision. His final attempt at a world title would come again Buddy McGirt who stopped Howard Davis at the beginning of the fight. He would end with a record of 36-6-1. Unable to leave combat sports alone he would become a trainer in boxing and MMA before becoming a director at American Top Team. He also was a musician and motivational speaker. Other than Davis it was a strong Olympics for Americans and both Spinks and Leonard would have held arguments for the Val Barker.

Patrizio Oliva took the Val Barker trophy at the Moscow Olympics marred by a boycott. He was a bank clerk from Naples who was trained by his father Rocco and brother Mario. Two years prior to the Olympics he would win the European Junior Championships before making the final of the senior version a year later losing to Serik Konakbayev. He was 21 for the Olympics and competed in the light welterweight category. His first two opponents, Aurelien Agnan and Farez Halabi, were stopped in an impressive manner. He would beat former Olympic bronze medalist Ace Rusevski to guarantee a medal. In the semifinal he defeated the Briton, Tony Willis. The final would be against his old foe Serik Konakbayev. He dominated him taking a comfortable win and in doing so was the only boxer from a non-Communist nation to win a gold medal. His record would end at 93-3 as he turned professional.

He was another boxer to start with an impressive win streak of 44. He would beat Kirkland Laing and then Ubaldo Nestor Sacco to win the WBA light-welterweight title. He defended his title four times before being stopped by Juan Martin Coggi. He would set up a later shot against Buddy McGirt for a middleweight shot but lost by unanimous decision. His record when he retired was 57-2. This was perhaps the Olympics where the Cuban team was at its most impressive. Hernandez, Herrera, Aldama and Stevenson were all gold winners who looked incredible.
Paul Gonzalez was the type of man that movies are made about. The young man grew up in the East Los Angeles projects where he was stabbed and shot by the time he was 12. Guided by a local police officer who dragged him off the streets he was the poster child for the city that hosted the Olympics. He became US amateur champion in 1983 and at 20 was considered a serious contender. His first round bout was against Kwang Sun Kim. He won comfortably but the bout had repercussions as he broke his hand. Despite an injured hand he would continue through the rounds. He defeated William Bagonza and John Lyon to make the semifinals. He won a wide decision over Marcelino Bolivar in the semifinal before his opponent in the final Salvatore Todisco pulled out because of injury. The American team was described as a second dream team but because of another boycott many of the world’s best boxers were not present.

He would turn professional in 1985 and would soon experience success in 1986 when beating Orlando Canizales. However this was not Canizales at his best and would be about as good as it got. He would fall out with his trainer and soon after his boxing would begin to decline. He would be stopped in the second round of a 1990 rematch. He still had the aggression and willingness but it never seemed to adapt to the professional ranks. At 16-4 he retired to become a car salesman. Once again quite a few of the American team could have won the trophy, especially Taylor, Whittaker, Hill or Holyfield.

Roy Jones Jr. would become the only man to win this trophy despite only winning a silver medal. He was the 1986 and 1987 Golden Gloves winner and at 19 was headed to the Seoul Olympics after twice defeating Frankie Liles. His incredible amateur record would end up at 121-13. He defeated M’Tendere Makalamba, Michal Franek, Evgeni Zaytsev and Richie Woodhall en route to the final. He had not lost a single round in any of those fights, with his speed and accuracy too much to handle. In the final he would lose a split decision to home boxer Park Si-Hun. According to CompuBox he landed over double the amount of punches. The fighter and referee both apologized to Roy Jones with the judges suspended and a new scoring system introduced for the Olympics.

His record as an amateur would finish at 121-13 before turning professional and it is probably not a stretch to suggest that he was by far the most impressive Val Barker winner at the professional level. He would go 62-9 and has gone down as a legend. He campaigned from middleweight to heavyweight. Winning titles in four weights. The names on his résumé include Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, Clinton Ruiz, Montell Griffin, Virgil Hill, John Ruiz, Mike McCallum, James Toney and Bernard Hopkins. Roy Jones was almost definitely the right pick, especially given the awful decision he received but Ray Mercer was impressive with all stoppage wins.

The winner in 1992 was perhaps the man who is one of the biggest what ifs in amateur boxing. Roberto Balado was a Cuban super heavyweight who looked incredible when winning the 1987 World Junior Championship. By the time 1992 rolled around he was a reigning double World Champion and a three-time Cuban Champion. He entered the Olympics at the age of 23, having gone 56 bouts unbeaten. He beat Tom Glesby, Larry Donald and Brian Nielsen to make final. In the final he defeated Richard Ignineghu. Over the tournament his overall score was 54-10 showing his level of dominance over opponents.

Despite being short for a super heavyweight at 5’7 he used his speed and superb footwork to foil opponents. After winning another World Championship and two more Cuban titles, Balado looked sure to at least become a double champion. Instead in 1990 he tried to cross a rail track but was involved in a tragic accident. It was a national tragedy, prompting an outburst of mourning which teammate Ariel Hernandez found especially tough. His final record stood at 238-12 and he would surely have been favorite to be too quick for 1996 winner Wladimir Klitschko and too tough for 2000 champion Audley Harrison. Some of his teammates were close to snatching the Val Barker trophy from him, especially Felix Savon and Ariel Hernandez.

The first winner from Kazakhstan, the rising star of amateur boxing, was Vassily Jirov. He begun boxing at the age of 12 and having just turned 20 he won a bronze at the 1993 World Championship. At the 1995 version he would stop his first two opponents but lose in the final to Antonio Tarver. His Olympics begin by defeat Julio Cesar Gonzalez, the future light heavyweight champion, by stoppage. Pietro Aurino and Troy Amos Ross were defeated in the way to the semifinals. He would face Antonio Tarver in the semi but ran out a comfortable winner, by six points. In the final he took on Seung-Bae Lee who was a bronze medalist from the previous Olympics but would once again dominate him, with a victory of 13 points.

Jirov was an awkward southpaw as his aggressiveness kept opponents on the back foot. Having amassed a record of 207-10 he turned professional, making his debut in January of 1997. He would win his first eleven fights in his first year by stoppage. His 21st bout was against Arthur Williams for the IBF cruiserweight title whom he stopped in the seventh round. His first defeat would come against James Toney in 2003. It was a fight that was disputed. As was his second loss which came against Michael Moorer. He retired with a record of 38-3-1. As usual the Cubans could definitely have received the trophy.

The Russian, Oleg Saitov was the winner in 2000 when he became a double Olympic champion. At 19 he won his first World Championship medal, a bronze after losing to Jyri Kjall. In 1995 he would win a silver at a higher weight losing to Juan Hernandez Sierra, who he would beat when winning the 1996 Olympics. He would also win the ‘97 Olympics and with ‘99 world champion Juan Hernandez Sierra moving up a division he was considered strong favorite. He beat Francisco Calderon before narrowly edging Ruslan Khairov. In the semifinal he beat one of the other favorites in Dorel Simion and finally Sergey Dotshenko in the final.

Saitov had an intriguing style with constant movement leading to an elusiveness that many boxers dream of. He used fast point scoring punches to rack up big totals and boxed with his hands down. He would continue boxing as an amateur but in 2004 could only win a bronze. He had a career as a mechanic whilst boxing but when he retired in 2004 he would become a local politician. He has also been a trainer and involved in organizing youth sport. Saitov possibly got a bit of a lucky decision with Rigondeaux and Kindelan both having good Olympics.

Bakhtiyar Artayev was the second consecutive winner of the Val Barker trophy to come from the welterweight division. At 20, he entered his first World Championships in 2003, losing in the quarterfinal. Artayev was the Kazakhstan chosen boxer over Gennady Golovkin who moved up a weight. Heading into the Olympics he was not a favorite but he beat Willy Bertrand Tankeu, Aliasker Bashirov and Viktor Polyakov with two stoppages to make it through to the semifinal. There he would face double Olympic champion Oleg Saitov. He would edge him 20-18 in order to teach the final where he met an even tougher matchup in Lorenzo Aragon.  Aragon was unbeaten for over 18 months and the double World Champion. Artayev once again defeated the favorite by a score of 36-26.

Artayev is tough and strong and used that to beat all comers to his weight. He would carry on as an amateur and win two bronzes at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships losing to Erislandy Lara and Alfonso Blanco. He was considered a medal contender at the 2008 Olympics but was handed a very tough draw. He drew Matvey Korobov in the second round. He was a dominant two-time world champion who was unbeaten in five years. Artayev used his reach and got a narrow points decision over Korobov. In the next round he boxed James DeGale, the British hope, losing a close decision to the eventual gold medal winner. He retired after this and would take an interesting in being on the other side of boxing events. He currently resides on the WSB commission.

Vasyl Lomachenko is widely considered to be one of the greatest amateur boxers. He was coached by his father from a young age. At only 19 he won a silver in the 2007 World Championships, losing to Albert Semilov. The two would clash in the first round of the 2008 Olympics. Despite going 5-1 down he would rally to beat Semilov. He used impressive inside work and long straight shots to frustrate Semilov. In the second round he dominated Bahodirjon Sooltonov, who had won an Olympic bronze as well as two World Championship bronzes. The quarter final saw him take on another World Championship bronze medalist and fan favorite Li Yang. Yakup Kilic also had a bronze medal and then in the final he beat Khedafi Djellhir. Against such an impressive list of boxers, Lomachenko was dominant with an overall score of 58-13 that could have been improved on as the final was stopped. This is probably the most impressive streak in Olympic boxing ever.

Lomachenko would continue his dominance in the featherweight division at the 2009 World Championship winning easily with scores of 65-7. After this he would take the move up to lightweight and win the 2011 World Championships. He would go on to win his second Olympic gold medal in London. With a reported amateur record of 396-1 he would turn professional, signing with Top Rank. He stopped a tough opponent in his first fight before taking a world title shot against Orlando Salido. Salido used all his nous as a professional boxer to rough up Lomachenko and take the decision. He would win the WBO title by beating Gary Russell Jr. in his next fight and made three defenses. He is looking forward to fighting the weight above for a title against Roman Martinez.

Kazakhstan won their third Val Barker trophy in the last five Olympics with Serik Sapiyev. He twice won World Championships, in 2005 and 2007. Interesting the 2007 final saw him beat Gennady Kovalev, a mix of two of the greatest boxers in the world. He lost to defending Olympic champion Manus Boonjumnong in 2008. He moved up to Welterweight following this Olympics. He won bronze in 2009 and silver in 2011. Heading into the Olympics he was considered a favorite alongside Fred Evans. He defeated Yasuhiro Suzuki and Gabriel Maestre by wide margins. Andrey Zamkovoy who beat Sapiyev in 2009 was his semifinal opponent but Sapiyev won comfortably here. His final came against Fred Evans, the other Olympic favorite fighting in front of a home crowd. Evans seemed slightly overawed and Sapiyev was comfortable.

Sapiyev was an awkward southpaw who throws solid combinations. He is fast with an impressive workrate and a master at dictating pace. He made Errol Spence, a slick boxer, look like a slow slugger. Sapiyev was a national hero after his Olympic win and has since seen the National Training Centre named after him. After signing up for the APB he would actually retire instead of boxing again. He received numerous offers but decided upon reaching his dream it was time to retire. He studied sports management at Brunel University and has since become the manager of the WSB team, the Astana Arlans. Anthony Joshua was second in the Val Barker voting, only a point behind Sapiyev despite arguably getting a gift of a decision in the final.

From this it can be seen that being the best boxer at an Olympic Games is not a great indicator for future success. Many choose not turn professional with other Olympic winners often going on to have better professional careers. In recent times those who have gone professional have mainly seen success with the last failure probably being Paul Gonzales in 1984.

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  1. KB 05:26pm, 06/09/2016

    Always a pleasure Eric.

  2. Eric 05:16pm, 06/09/2016

    KB….Keep keepin’ on KB. At the time, Dr. Judd was just powerlifting. He often joked that he was built like a 12 year old stamp collector. The only thing I work out on now besides the bodyweight stuff is an occasional workout on the Hammer machines. hehe. Takin’ the easy way out, I know.

  3. KB 04:52pm, 06/09/2016

    I lift raw except I use knee wraps in the squat which is my best lift and that is very unusual for a geezer. I have often said that if a street fighter went after me, I could end matters if I could avoid his first shot and get him in a bear hug. If so, I would crush his ribs like they were made of balsa wood.

    No more as we kind of hi-jacked the poor lad’s very fine and very lengthy article. Props to him.

  4. KB 04:48pm, 06/09/2016

    Dr. Judd Biasiotto was a combination body builder power lifter and knew his stuff.

  5. Eric 04:44pm, 06/09/2016

    KB….I might add those were RAW lifts as well. teehee. No bench shirts, no wraps, only belts. I think it is ridiculous the amount of gear that powerlifters use today. Back in the day it was the muscles that lifted the weights not the support wear.

  6. Eric 04:41pm, 06/09/2016

    KB…I wasn’t dissing the great sport of powerlifting, I just think that Olympic weightlifting is far more technical and takes much more time to master. Besides, I won my weight class in the only powerlifting contest I ever entered. teehee. No kidding. This was waaaaaaay back in 1979 and was an event for high school kids. I wasn’t a powerlifter, but lifted for football. I competed in the 220lb class and benched 325lbs and deadlifted 500lbs, we only benched and deadlifted, no squatting. The guy judging the contest was Dr. Judd Biasiotto, a well known guy in powerlifting circles. Those aren’t fantastic numbers, but you have to take in consideration that I hardly ever performed deadlifts, and the bench press was done with a legitimate pause, no touch and go bullshit. Today’s high school football players would shatter those numbers, but back then, we didn’t spend near the time on the weights like kids do today. Of course there were only a handful of kids participating and I think only one was a legit “powerlifter” at the time.

  7. KB 02:51pm, 06/09/2016

    also, strong man is a new ( in the sense of popularity) and very challenging sport. I am one of the oldest—if not the oldest—strong man competitors in the world and that one DOES involve brute strength more than some of the other attributes. It’s a bitch and I only do 4 of the 10 events—Hex Bar, Buffalo Squat, Hercules Hold, and Cheat Curl.  I’m working on the sled pull.

    Arnie Schwarzenegger endorses this event and in the world of weightlifting, his word is pure gold. He is the Ali of our sport;

    That is all

  8. KB 02:44pm, 06/09/2016

    Eric , if you think PL is about brute strength, then you need to study the sport a bit. Tee Hee. Technique,speed, power, and strength are absolutely essential to results. The sport has seen a steady rise in results as it moves from Raw to Gear. The amount of training that goes into PL is incredible. And the subtleties are equally amazing.

    Note in this video that Robin is lifting on a block in order to help with his lift off. But if he places the weight down on a blocks, that will help with his lock ups. Just one example of a thousand subtle training tricks.;

  9. Eric 01:51pm, 06/09/2016

    Remember an Olympic lifter turned boxer, Ray Elson, taking on my personal favorite 70’s light heavyweight, Victor Galindez, back in the day. Poor kid gave up his Olympic dream, eschewed the weights and laced up the gloves. I believe at the time he took on Vicious Victor, he only had a dozen or so fights, still he gave a gutsy effort considering the odds against him.

  10. Eric 01:42pm, 06/09/2016

    Irish….I don’t think the Olympic superheavyweights have reached 600lbs yet, so it’s quite odd that in Olympic weightlifting the poundage hasn’t increased that much in 40 years. Funny thing is Olympic lifting is about speed, power, strength and technique where “Powerlifting” is pure brute strength. Some of these guys are remarkably fast in short sprints. Not much for stamina but very explosive and their leaping ability is often off the charts. I read that Alekseyev was able to do numerous pull-ups at 300lb plus pounds, kind of destroys the myth that all “big guys” suck at bodyweight calisthenics.

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:28am, 06/09/2016

    Eric-Thanks for reminding me of Alekseyev who won gold in ‘72 and ‘76. This was about the time my mid section started to expand and I took comfort in the fact that the strongest man in the world had a bigger belly than me….the only difference of course, was that he had giant slabs of muscle under that outer padding….me not so much!

  12. Eric 07:18am, 06/09/2016

    Oops, left out the aforementioned, Teofilio Stevenson. Great year for the Olympics.

  13. Eric 07:16am, 06/09/2016

    At the time it was Howard Davis, not SRL, who was considered the best of the elite ‘76 boxing squad. Davis was a HUGE disappointment as a pro, he just didn’t have much of a punch which definitely hurt him as a pro fighter. The only squad that could arguably compete with the ‘76 team would have been the ‘84 lineup. IMO, the 1976 Olympics had some of the finest athletes ever, names like Nadia Comaneci, Alberto Juantiorena, Vasily Alekseyev, David Rigert, Bruce Jenner, and Frank Shorter. It also had some memorable moments like an American weightlifter actually winning a silver medal in weightlifting, Lee James accomplished that feat. John & Ben Peterson, the wrestling brothers who actually both won medals and the Shun Fujimoto, the Japanese gymnast competing with a broken bone in his leg. Man, that guy had to be on some serious pain meds or he was one determined bastard.

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