Papp, Laszlo


Papp, Laszlo
▪ 2004

      Hungarian boxer (b. March 25, 1926, Budapest, Hung.—d. Oct. 16, 2003, Budapest), was the first three-time Olympic boxing champion; he won the middleweight (161-lb) gold medal at the 1948 Games in London and then dropped down in weight to take the gold medal in the newly created light middleweight (156-lb) division in 1952 and 1956. Papp, who was known for his devastating left hook, lost only 12 of his 300 bouts as an amateur and won the European middleweight (1949) and light middleweight (1951) amateur titles. The Hungarian government in 1957 allowed him to turn professional (the first boxer from a communist country to gain that right), and in 1962 he captured the European professional middleweight title, which he defended six times. In 1965 Papp's travel permit was revoked to prevent him from fighting American Joey Giardello for the world middleweight belt, and he retired undefeated with a professional record of 27 wins (15 knockouts) and 2 draws. Papp was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001.

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▪ Hungarian athlete
born March 25, 1926, Budapest, Hungary
died October 16, 2003, Budapest
 Hungarian boxer who became the first three-time Olympic boxing champion, winning gold medals in 1948, 1952, and 1956.

      Papp, a former railway clerk, competed as a middleweight (161 pounds [73 kg]) at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. A hard-hitting left-hander, he won the first of his gold medals by defeating Britain's John Wright in the final match. In 1952, when the light middleweight (156-pound [71-kg]) division was introduced at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, Papp moved down into that division and defeated Theunis van Schalkwyk of South Africa for his second gold medal. At the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Papp won an unprecedented third gold medal by defeating American José Torres, a future light heavyweight world champion.

      As an amateur, Papp also won the European middleweight championship in 1949 and the European light middleweight championship in 1951. In 1957, at age 31, he received permission from the Hungarian government to fight professionally, becoming the first boxer from a communist country to do so. Although in 1962 Papp became the professional middleweight champion of Europe, the Hungarian government refused to allow Papp to challenge for the world championship; in 1989 the World Boxing Council made him an honorary world champion. After successfully defending his European title six times, Papp retired, undefeated, in 1965. He later was the boxing coach (1971–92) for the Hungarian Olympic team. Considered one of the world's greatest middleweight fighters, Papp was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001.

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Universalium. 2010.

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