Australia and Olympic Boxing
Australia’s first Olympic boxer and medallist was the famous sporting all-rounder Reginald “Snowy” Baker in London in 1908.
Baker was defeated in the middleweight final by Johnny Douglas, who was later to captain England in test cricket. The next medal came in Melbourne in 1956 with Kevin Hogarth’s bronze in the welterweight division.
Tony Madigan and Ollie Taylor headed the boxing team at Rome 1960 and both won bronze medals in the light heavyweight and bantamweight categories respectively.
Madigan lost to a precocious Cassius Clay (now known as Muhammad Ali) in a semi-final. Seoul 1988 saw Grahame “Spike” Cheney equal Baker’s performance by winning a silver medal, as a light welterweight.
Francis 'Frank' Roberts was Australia's first Indigenous Olympian. He boxed in the welterweight division at Tokyo 1964 where he lost on points in the first round of the tournament to one of the eventual bronze medallists.
Women’s boxing was introduced at the London 2012 Games with middleweight Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen Australia's only female competitor. Unfortunately Fischer-Rasmussen lost her opening bout.
Australia had a male representative in every weight division in London, with light-welterweight Jeff Horn Australia's best performer after reaching the quarterfinals.
Three Australian boxers made their Olympic debuts at Rio 2016. Daniel Lewis had the most successful Olympic campaign, making the second round.
While Jason Whateley and Australia’s sole female boxer Shelley Watts both lost in the first round, as Australia chased its first Olympic boxing medal since 1988.
Tokyo 2020 was a highly successful campaign for the five-member boxing team.
After a 33-year medal drought, Harry Garside won Australia's first boxing medal since Grahame 'Spike' Cheney in 1988. Competing in the Lightweight division Garside won his round one and two bouts, then defeated Kazakhstan's Zakir Safiullin in the quarter-final to guarantee himself a medal. In his semi-final Garside lost a 0-5 points decision to Cuba's Andy Cruz.
We also achieved our best ever result in women's boxing, being held at its third Games. Skye Nicolson finished equal 5th in the Featherweight division. After defeating South Korea Im Ae-Ji in round one, Nicolson was defeated in the quarter-final by Britain's Karriss Artingstall in a close 2-3 decision. Caitlin Parker (Middleweight) and Paulo Aokuso (Light-Heavyweight) both placed equal 9th.
Boxing was not included on the program for the first modern Olympics in Athens 1896 because it was considered dangerous and not a gentlemanly sport.
The sport gained Olympic status in St Louis 1904, in a nation where it was very popular. All the competitors in the St Louis boxing tournament were Americans.
Oliver Kirk won the bantamweight and featherweight titles and became the only person to win two boxing gold medals at the same Olympics.
Women also gave a demonstration of boxing in St Louis. From 1904 onwards, except for Stockholm 1912 where it was prohibited under Swedish law, men’s boxing has been an Olympic sport.
Women’s boxing was added to the Olympic program for London 2012 with three weight categories: 51kg flyweight, 60kg lightweight and 75kg middleweight.
Athletes are paired off at random for the Olympic Games, without regard to ranking. They fight in a single-elimination tournament, but, unlike most Olympic events, both losing semi-finalists receive bronze medals.
Each boxing bout lasts four rounds of two minutes each, with a one-minute break. A score is marked when the athlete hits their opponent at the front part of the head or on the upper part of the body - above the belt line. However, the score is registered only when at least three of the five judges acknowledge the hit simultaneously.
The total number of valid points at the end of the fourth round determines the winner.
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