Last six Canadian Olympic medallists in boxing
Boxing is returning to prime-time television in the United States, and the greatly-hyped, long-awaited bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather has dominated much of the sports landscape in recent weeks.
Suddenly far from disappearing despite the emergence of new and popular forms of fight entertainment in the last 10-15 years, it seems boxing – an Olympic staple since 1920 – is experiencing a resurgence.
Unfortunately, Canada hasn’t had much luck in the Olympic discipline, on a medal drought now that will hit 20 years at Rio 2016, where Boxing Canada hopes to put an end to it. Qualifications for Rio will start this fall and Canadians will have a chance to learn about some of the country’s top amateur pugilists at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games this year as well.
Until then, here’s a look at the last six Canadians to win an Olympic medal in Boxing.
One of three boxing medals at Seoul 1988, Downey won a bronze in the light middleweight (71kg) class, winning four fights before losing to eventual gold medallist Park Si-Hun of South Korea. Notably, Park beat Roy Jones Jr. of the United States in the final in a controversial decision that forced changes to the Olympic scoring system.
Marcus took silver in the middleweight (75kg) division in Seoul, winning five fights before losing the final to East Germany (that was a thing back then) southpaw Henry Maske, who eventually won an IBF world title.
Future undisputed world heavyweight champion Lewis fought under the maple leaf at the Olympics before he chose the Union Jack during his pro career. Lewis turned down a chance to become a pro after an Olympic quarterfinal loss at Los Angeles 1984, and his Seoul super heavyweight title stands as the last Olympic gold for Canada in boxing.
Leduc made it to the final against Cuban legend Hector Vinent at Barcelona 1992 and had to settle for a silver in the light welterweight (63.5kg) class against the future two-time Olympic gold medallist. Leduc passed away in 2009 from heat stroke. He was an openly gay athlete, a rarity for boxers of his generation.
The second Olympic boxing medal in Barcelona arrived through Chris Johnson, a middleweight. In the semifinal Johnson was defeated by future WBO heavyweight champ Chris Byrd of the United States. Johnson himself went on to have 26-3 pro career.
Canada’s last Olympic boxing medal arrived at Atlanta 1996 courtesy of heavyweight (91kg) David Defiagbon, who won silver. Defiagbon beat notable fighters Christophe Mendy of France and American Nate Jones before losing his gold medal bout against defending Olympic champion Felix Savon of Cuba, one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time.