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Teofilo Stevenson, Cuban Olympic Boxing Champ, Dies at 60

Teofilo Stevenson
Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson stands for a portrait during the 1970s. Source: CORR/AFP/Getty Images

June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Teofilo Stevenson, who won three consecutive Olympic heavyweight boxing gold medals for Cuba in 1972-80, died yesterday of a heart attack, the Associated Press reported. He was 60.

Stevenson is one of three boxers to win three Olympic titles, along with Laszlo Papp of Hungary and Felix Savon of Cuba.

A statement read on the news in Cuba last night said: “The Cuban sporting family was moved today by the passing of one of the greatest of all time.”

In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, Stevenson ended a run of two straight U.S. gold medals in the heavyweight class -- by Joe Frazier in 1964 and George Foreman in 1968 -- by defeating favored American Duane Bobick en route to his first gold medal.

Promoters pushed for a showdown with American professional heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Stevenson followed Cuban orders that he retain his amateur status, and the potentially lucrative fight never occurred.

Stevenson was forced to forego a shot at a potential fourth straight Olympic gold when Cuba boycotted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. He retired in 1988 after Cuba also skipped that year’s Seoul Olympics.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Gloster at rgloster@bloomberg.net

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